Sexual Harassment Lawyers in Las Vegas Will Fight for Your Rights
Are you dealing with sexual harassment at work? Such behaviors are not only wrong; they’re illegal. Contact our experienced Las Vegas sexual harassment lawyer for a confidential and free consultation. Let us help put a stop to harassment today.
The workplace should be a safe place for everyone within it, and in most cases, that’s exactly what it is. But there are situations where you might have more to worry about than completing your annual report or meeting your quarterly sales quota on time. Perhaps it’s a coworker who’s making sexually explicit jokes around the water cooler. Or maybe your boss promises you a promotion if you agree to a date or provide sexual favors. The specific acts are not what’s important. If those acts are unwanted and of a sexual nature, then there’s a good chance you’re a victim of sexual harassment.
To the sexual harasser, it may appear like this is harmless office behavior or simply workplace banter among colleagues. But if you’ve ever been the victim of this type of conduct, you understand how uncomfortable and threatening these actions can be. Due to differences in power or fear of retaliation, it may seem almost impossible for you to stand up to the harasser. And if you do, you could jeopardize your professional future, face bullying that leads to emotional distress or even put your physical safety in danger.
Even if the sexual harassment is not intended to bully, it doesn’t make it any easier to endure or change the fact that sexual harassment is wrong. It’s also illegal under federal and Nevada law. But how exactly do you use the law to protect yourself from being sexually harassed? That’s where finding an experienced Las Vegas sexual harassment lawyer can help. These professionals understand discrimination and employment law, and they can guide you through the administrative and legal processes. Until you speak with professional legal counsel, though, the following information might provide some guidance on how to deal with your situation.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. The conduct must be of a sexual nature to qualify. It constitutes any conduct in the workplace that is unwelcome and creates a hostile or offensive working environment. Based on this definition, there are two components that must both be present for sexual harassment to exist.
First, the sexual behavior in question must be unwanted. If the recipient of a comment, joke, physical touching, or sexual request consents to the behavior, that means there is no valid sexual harassment claim. Determining whether this behavior is welcome, however, is often a tricky endeavor. Many defendants in sexual harassment civil lawsuits are dismayed to learn that what they thought was consensual sexual behavior is not consensual at all.
Second, the unwanted sexual conduct must make the victim uncomfortable to the extent that it interferes with work or creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. This is a broad concept and can include any behavior of a sexual nature that intimidates or offends the victim.
What Kind of Conduct Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
There are two types of behavior seen in sexual harassment claims: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term that translates to “something for something” and refers to a situation where an employment action is directly tied to a sexual favor. The classic example of quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a boss tells a subordinate that she must sleep with him if she wants to keep her job, receive a promotion, or get a raise.
The second type of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment exists when the sexual harassment is pervasive or severe enough to change the victim’s working conditions. A sexual harassment attorney has clients who deal with all types of inappropriate behavior that leads to such an unwelcoming environment. The following are some of the most common examples:
- Asking personal questions of a sexual nature.
- Sending sexual jokes or materials through office email.
- Giving constant compliments about someone’s appearance.
- Discussing one’s sex life at work.
- Spreading sexual rumors about another employee.
- Unwanted touching, even if it’s not overtly sexual.
- Constantly asking out a coworker despite the coworker repeatedly saying no.
- Giving unwanted gifts that have romantic or sexual intentions.
Sexual harassment can exist even when the harasser is of the same sex of the victim or shows no romantic interest in them. As long as the focus of such behavior is based on the victim’s sex, then it is unlawful and can lead to a sexual harassment claim.
How Can I Stop Sexual Harassment at Work?
The first thing you will likely need to do is tell the person to stop. It’s possible that they do not realize what they are doing is unwanted or making you uncomfortable. Even if they do know, you should still make a point of saying something. If you decide to take legal action later on, it will help your case if you can say that you told the harasser the conduct was unwanted and needed to stop. Such an action could also potentially stop an escalation that may eventually lead to sexual assault.
Assuming the behavior continues, you’ll need to notify the appropriate contact at work. This might be a human resources officer, your supervisor, or a designated sexual harassment official. Whatever your employer’s sexual harassment reporting policy is, be sure to follow it. One of the defenses many employers use in sexual harassment lawsuits is that the victim didn’t follow the appropriate reporting procedures at work. This allows the employer to argue that it never knew sexual harassment was taking place or never had an opportunity to correct the problem. Simply reporting the behavior is often enough to settle the problem — because most employers don’t want a legal issue on their hands.
Can You Go Above the Company and Report Inappropriate Behavior?
If reporting the sexual harassment at work doesn’t help, you may need to report the behavior to Nevada’s Equal Rights Commission or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a general rule, you don’t need the help of a law firm to report harassment to either of these government organizations. But depending on your situation, you may want to consult with an attorney first. This will ensure your legal rights are protected, and the complaint you file will be both complete and informative.
The last thing you want is for your complaint to be dismissed based on technicalities. Additionally, if you want to file a sexual harassment lawsuit later down the road, having an experienced Las Vegas sexual harassment lawyer throughout this reporting process is critical to being able to present the strongest case possible in court. And if you face any form of retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior to your employer, there will be a legal record that you were being harassed.
Whatever you decide to do, always write down what has happened to you and when it happened. Include as many details as possible — such as who was involved and who might have witnessed the sexual harassment. Keeping the facts straight will increase your credibility should you choose to take legal action in the future. Having such documentation will also help your attorney decide how to move forward during your initial consultation.
What Are the Legal Remedies for Harassment of a Sexual Nature?
Depending on the effect that inappropriate sexually-motivated behavior has had on you, an experienced Las Vegas sexual harassment lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation. There are various remedies under employment law and other statutes. It’s wise to seek the legal advice before taking any actions, but you may be able to recover the following damages in your case:
- Compensatory damages.
- Reinstatement of job position.
- Back pay.
- Front pay (assuming reinstatement is not possible).
- Punitive damages.
- Attorney’s fees.
Only a Las Vegas sexual harassment lawyer will be able to tell you exactly what legal remedies are available as a result of the inappropriate behaviors you were forced to endure. Even if you love the company you work at or fear you may lose your job, don’t hesitate to reach out to a California & Nevada personal injury lawyer. Sexual activity and harassment don’t belong in the workplace, and everything you say will remain confidential unless you decide to move forward.
Are You Looking for a Las Vegas Sexual Harassment Lawyer?
When a person is sexually harassed in their workplace, it takes away the sense of safety they should have. Whether such inappropriate behaviors revolve around sexual orientation, gender, disparate treatment, unwanted sexual advances, or any other form of discrimination — they are inherently and legally wrong. If you’ve found yourself in such a position, it may be difficult to figure out how to move forward. This is why it’s so important to have legal representation on your side.
At Murphy & Murphy Law Offices, our sexual harassment lawyers fight hard to ensure no one has to feel unsafe in the workplace. The validity of your claim doesn’t rely on whether harassment includes verbal or physical conduct — both are illegal under state and federal law. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact us today at (702) 369-9696 for a free consultation. Everything you say in our office is completely confidential, and with a sexual harassment lawyer in Las Vegas on your side, you’ll have a better understanding of how to move forward.