What Are the Options for Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace can have devastating effects on survivors. It can not only impact their emotional well-being, but their professional lives may also be affected. It is vital for victims to understand that they have rights and options for addressing the harm they have suffered. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on how to proceed in these situations.
Understanding Workplace Sexual Harassment
Before looking at the options available to victims, it is crucial to understand what constitutes workplace sexual harassment. There are two general categories of sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo: This occurs when a supervisor or someone with authority demands sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits or threatens negative consequences if those favors are not provided.
Hostile work environment: This type of harassment will involve unwelcome and pervasive sexual conduct or language that interferes with a person’s ability to perform their job effectively.
If you believe you have experienced either form of workplace sexual harassment, contacting an attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC should be your first step toward seeking justice.
Filing a Complaint with Your Employer
In most cases, employees who have experienced workplace sexual harassment should start by filing a complaint internally. Many employers have policies and procedures in place to address these issues. Follow these steps when filing a complaint:
Contact human resources: Speak with someone from HR about your concerns as soon as possible after experiencing any form of workplace sexual harassment.
Create documentation: Keep detailed logs or records regarding incidents of harassment, including dates, times, locations, and any witnesses present.
Follow company protocols: Familiarize yourself with your employer's policies on sexual harassment and follow the established procedures for reporting incidents.
If you face resistance or inadequate action from your employer in addressing the issue, you will want to determine what steps you can take to prevent future harassment and address the negative effects you have experienced. An attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC can advise you of your rights and options in these situations.
Filing a Charge with a Government Agency
If internal complaint procedures fail to resolve the issue satisfactorily, you may consider reporting sexual harassment to the relevant government agencies. In Illinois, you may be able to file charges at the federal or state level through the following agency:
Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR): This state agency investigates complaints regarding employment discrimination within Illinois.
The team at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC can help you determine which agency is best suited to address your particular situation, and we can assist you throughout the process of filing charges against your employer.
Pursuing Legal Action Through Litigation
If resolution through internal channels or government agencies proves unsuccessful, you may be able to pursue legal action by bringing a lawsuit against a harasser and/or your employer. This is often the best option if you have experienced retaliation or wrongful termination after reporting sexual harassment. Through litigation, you may be able to receive financial compensation for damages such as:
Lost wages and benefits
Expenses related to psychological treatment
In addition to compensatory damages, courts in Illinois may also award punitive damages as punishment for especially egregious cases of sexual harassment. An experienced attorney from Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC will assess your case and provide guidance on your legal options and the compensation you may be able to receive.
Contact Our DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyers
If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment in Illinois, it is crucial to act swiftly. Contact the compassionate team of Wheaton sexual harassment attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC by calling 630-665-7300. During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your case and provide guidance on the best course of action you can take to address the harassment you have experienced. We will help you seek justice and obtain fair compensation for the harm you have suffered.