Workplace harassment can create a hostile working environment, and leave you and fellow teammates struggling to deal with its impact. Falling victim to workplace harassment can also be stressful as you will be fighting to determine what steps need to be taken to protect your career. Ongoing harassment can fall into a variety of categories, including any unwelcome behavior or policy that is based on a protected class such as:
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
If you have suffered harassment in the workplace, it can be critical to have a lawyer on your side to help you protect your rights and discuss next steps. Contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today to speak with a workplace harassment lawyer to learn more about your rights following workplace harassment, and how you can protect yourself in the future.
Types of Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment can take several forms with consideration to the workplace environment, coworkers, activities, and company culture.
Verbal or Written Harassment
Verbal harassment may involve statements made directly to you during the course of your work day. For example, your boss might make statements about your race or gender, or about your advancing age. Off-color jokes or comments about excluding you on the basis of specific, protected qualities can also fall into the category of harassment.
Written harassment takes those same verbal statements to the page, whether virtually or on paper. Any written material can leave a clear trail of evidence, which usually makes it less likely; however, some people will shamelessly continue to harass their coworkers through written form, including rude or crude jokes or other information included in workplace emails, memos, or chats.
Physical harassment can take several forms. Sexual harassment, for example, may include unwanted groping or other sexual contact. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you must contact an experienced sexual harassment lawyer in Minnesota for adequate representation. In other cases, physical harassment may involve unwanted physical contact, including pushing, shoving, or “shoulder-checking.” In some cases, physical harassment may rise to new heights, including physical attacks.
Physical harassment can also prove more subtle. For example, someone might stand too close to another individual, use crude hand gestures or signs, or engage in other behaviors that can make people physically uncomfortable. If you have fallen victim to any form of physical harassment to include sexual, reaching out to a Minneapolis sexual harassment lawyer is highly recommended.
Visual harassment usually includes behavior that makes another person uncomfortable due to the physical elements displayed in the workplace. For example, wearing deliberately suggestive, violent, or offensive clothing could be construed as visual harassment, especially if it makes someone uncomfortable. Displaying suggestive photos, watching violent or suggestive videos, or showing other people suggestive content on a phone or other device can also be construed as visual harassment.
Addressing visual harassment in the workplace can be incredibly complicated, since it is often subjective and may depend on what someone else finds uncomfortable. However, behavior that continues after it has been addressed may be more clearly identified as visual harassment.
Legal Proceedings Involving Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment in the workplace can be complex. If you are facing harassment in the workplace, there are several steps that you may need to take in order to establish grounds for a claim against your employer or to take further legal action. If you have questions about your next steps or any point in the process, contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law for further advice from an experienced workplace harassment lawyer.
Any time you feel harassed or uncomfortable at work, make sure you document the occasions. Examples of documentation can include:
- Detailed description of event
- Physical evidence
If you’re dealing with harassment, the first step is attempting to talk to the person engaging in inappropriate behavior. No matter how uncomfortable you feel, you need to start by identifying the uncomfortable behavior and asking for it to stop. Engaging the other party informs them that you consider the behavior to be unwelcome, and allows you to document the efforts you have made to get the behavior to stop.
Your employee handbook should include a policy for recruiting harassment, including who you need to report it to. You may need to go to your manager or to HR in order to share information about the harassment and protect yourself as much as possible. Document the notification that you provided to your company in writing.
Your company will then have the option to take action against the offender. Sometimes, that may mean bringing that person in for a meeting or even firing that individual.
If harassment continues, you may need to follow up with your company, since they may need to take further action. Keep in mind that as long as your company takes appropriate action against the offender, you will typically not have grounds to file a claim against your employer.
EEOC Charge of Discrimination
If you have faced discrimination in the workplace and your employer isn’t taking steps to resolve it, you may need to file an administrative charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state’s comparative agency. The EEOC will notify your employer about the complaint and complete an investigation, if necessary. If your employer does not take appropriate action or fix the problem, you may receive a right to sue letter.
File a Lawsuit
Once you have exhausted potential remedies based on the conditions set or observed by the EEOC, including attempting to mediate solutions with your employer, you may have the right to file a lawsuit. If you have not yet contacted a workplace harassment lawyer, it’s recommended to contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law to learn more about your rights and how to file a workplace harassment lawsuit.
Workplace Harassment Remedies
In many workplace harassment lawsuits, you can recover remedies from your employer for the harassment and other challenges you may have faced in the workplace. You usually have the right to claim financial compensation for many of the losses you have faced, including:
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses like therapy
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Pain and suffering
In addition, the court may require your employer to take specific actions to prevent future harassment, including specific harassment training or a new policy related to harassment complaints.
Contact a Workplace Harassment Lawyer Today
If you have faced any type of harassment in the workplace, you need an attorney who will fight to help you end the occurrences, and seek compensation for your suffering. Contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today to learn more about your rights in the workplace, and the steps you need to take following workplace harassment.