What Can an Employee Do About Sexual Harassment?
Sexual Harassment Attorneys Serving Victims in DuPage, Kendall and Will Counties
Victims of sexual harassment should not feel powerless even if they are told there is nothing that can be done about the offending conduct. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many state laws give victims of sexual harassment strong rights. A sexual harassment attorney can help you learn what your rights are.
It is not unusual to find out that the perpetrator of sexual harassment is unaware that their conduct is offensive. This makes speaking up very important. If you can make it clear to the offender that their conduct is inappropriate they may stop simply because they were unaware their conduct was offensive. If speaking up doesn't resolve the situation at least the offender cannot claim in the future that they were unaware their behavior was offensive.
Depending on the company you work for, there may be specific policies in place on how to address issues of sexual harassment. If your company has such a policy you should follow the exact procedure dictated by your company. If there are certain individuals designated to hear sexual harassment claims you should bring your complaint to those individuals.
If your company does not have a set policy, you should take your complaints to your immediate supervisor. If your supervisor is the one that has victimized you, you should bring the behavior to the attention of your supervisor's immediate superior. In hostile environment cases it is important that your company's management know that a problem exists.
It is important to document and record each complaint you make in your log and to include all important details such as who you told, what their response was, the date and time of your complaints, and any other details you consider important. You should also always memorialize your complaint by sending a summary of what occurred to the appropriate people by e-mail and keep a copy of your e-mail and their response for your records.
Filing a Charge of Discrimination
If your claim is not resolved through your companies internal procedures you may decide to file a claim through the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the The IDHR will investigate your claim and attempt to resolve the issue. If you have not enlisted the support of an experienced sexual harassment attorney, you may decide to do so at this time.
If the government agency does not proceed with your claim for any reason it will issue you a notice called a “right to sue” notice. If this happens you are now able to bring your case to court. If the agency finds sufficient evidence of sexual harassment but is not able to resolve the issue with your employer, the agency may decide to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
If you are issued a “right to sue” letter you are able to file a civil lawsuit against your employer for the injuries you suffered because of the sexual harassment. The injuries do not have to be physical and are most often emotional.
If you win your sexual harassment lawsuit, you may be entitled to be reinstated in your job if you lost your job as a result of the harassment, you could be awarded back pay if you lost pay or were denied a raise or promotion based on the harassment, you could be compensated for loss of fringe benefits, monetary damages for emotional distress, and you could be awarded attorney's fees and court costs. Additionally, the court may order that your employer institute a sexual harassment policy and/or training program so sexual harassment doesn't occur in the future.
In certain states, if you are able to prove that your employer acted with malice or reckless indifference, you may be able to obtain punitive damages. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can advise you if punitive damages may be available to you.
Our employment discrimination attorneys know all the applicable laws—those related to employment discrimination and those covered by other legislation. Contact a knowledgeable employment discrimination lawyer at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300 to discuss filing an employment discrimination claim.