What Types of Damages Are Available in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
Sexual harassment is a type of sex-based employment discrimination that violates both federal and state law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates that about one out of every four U.S. workers have been affected by sexual harassment at work. Nobody should have to tolerate sexual harassment. However, it often goes unreported due to misinformation and fear of retaliation. Although it is expressly against the law for an employer to retaliate against a worker for making a harassment or discrimination complaint, it is not uncommon for an employer to exact revenge on an employee for reporting sexual harassment. When an employee suffers some type of harm or injury due to sexual harassment, a sexual harassment lawsuit may help him or her receive compensation.
When is a Successful Sexual Harassment Claim Possible?
There are two types of sexual harassment claims according to the law: hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment. The former involves sex-based or derogatory communication and behavior while the latter involves a superior attempting to gain sexual contact in exchange for work-related advantages.
When an employee suffers sexual harassment, he or she should report the harassment to the appropriate individual or department—typically the human resources department. If the employer does not address the harassment and take steps to prevent further harassment, the company may be liable for damages. It is important to note that an employer cannot take steps to address sexual harassment if he or she is not aware of the issue.
Damages in a Sexual Harassment Claim
The term “damages” refers to the financial compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit such as a sexual harassment case. The type and quantity of damages you may be eligible for will depend on the losses and harms you experienced as a result of the harassment. If you were fired, denied a raise or promotion, or otherwise lost income due to the sexual harassment, you may be entitled to back pay. Back pay includes wages, tips, commission, the value of benefits like health insurance and retirement benefits, and more.
If you lost your job or were forced to quit because of sexual harassment, you may also be entitled to “front pay.” This means that you could receive compensation for wages you would have received in the future. Compensation for emotional distress and harm to your reputation may also be available through a sexual harassment claim. In cases of extreme employer wrongdoing, you may receive punitive damages, or additional compensation meant to punish the employer.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation, contact Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC for help. Schedule a consultation with a skilled Illinois sexual harassment attorney to discuss your case by calling us at 630-665-7300 today.