You work hard to provide for yourself and your family. The last thing you need is for unwanted and inappropriate attention to complicate your efforts. Sadly, workplace sexual harassment is all too common in West Virginia, and it can leave victims feeling embarrassed, intimidated, and trapped. Sound familiar? If so, you've come to the right firm for assistance.
At Bailess Law Firm, our empathetic and highly skilled employment lawyers help workers hold employers and others accountable for unlawful, sexually degrading behavior. Here's what you need to know.
Recognizing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
On-the-job sexual harassment can take many forms. One of the most common types, known as Quid Pro Quo, occurs when it's stated or implied that job security or employment benefits (like raises or promotions) hinge on an employee's willingness to accept sexual advances or provide sexual favors. Prohibited by both state and federal law, Quid Pro Quo harassment is a blatant violation of your employment rights.
However, workplace sexual harassment involves so much more than just threats or bribes for sexual activity. Oftentimes, it's a constant barrage of inappropriate jokes and innuendos that continues even after the employee has expressly asked that it stop, resulting in a workplace that feels uncomfortable or unsafe. Hostile Work Environment sexual harassment isn't just offensive; it's a form of employment discrimination, and it's against the law.
Sexually harassing behavior includes a wide range of unwanted physical contact and suggestive verbal actions, such as:
- Crude jokes
- Sexual innuendos
- Lewd remarks
- Commenting on a person's body
- Sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Circulating sexually suggestive photos, cartoons, videos, or other material
- Sending or sharing inappropriate texts or emails
- Inappropriate touching or brushing up against others
- Using sexually suggestive, explicit, or offensive gender-related language
- Company policies that discriminate based on gender
If sexual harassment is affecting your performance and making your job an intimidating, offensive, or hostile place to work, we can help.
Holding Sexual Harassers Accountable
You have the right to a safe work environment that's free of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. When employers, supervisors, managers, coworkers, or others engage in sexually harassing conduct that violates your rights, our accomplished and understanding employment law attorneys can help you take legal action to hold them accountable.
Depending on the circumstances of your West Virginia workplace sexual harassment case, we may be able to help you recover compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Lost wages, tips, commissions, and bonuses
- Lost employment benefits, such as health, pension, retirement, paid time off, stock option, or profit-sharing benefits
- Related medical or psychological counseling expenses
- Emotional distress
- Loss of dignity
In some cases, a judge or jury may also award punitive damages to workplace sexual harassment plaintiffs. Rather than attempting to compensate you for an economic or non-economic loss, these damages punish the defendant for reckless or intentional wrongdoing.
A Word About Retaliation
People who are being sexually harassed on the job are often reluctant to report it or take legal action because they're worried that their harasser will retaliate against them. Don't let this fear convince you to suffer in silence. Retaliation for making a sexual harassment claim is against the law, and if you've experienced it, we'll work to help you recover damages.
Trust Your Instincts and Talk to an Employment Attorney
You know when an employer or coworker has crossed the line, but if you're like many of our clients who have endured sexual harassment in the workplace, you may find yourself questioning whether you are being "silly" or making something out of nothing. Or you may worry that if you talk to an attorney about your experiences, they'll treat you as if that's the case. Don't let these doubts shake your confidence. Trust your instincts and contact us to make an appointment to discuss your case. Our warm and caring attorneys will listen without judgment and help you understand your legal rights and options.