When a manager or supervisor in your workplace engages in sexually harassing behavior, it could have a devastating impact on not just the victim, but also the entire workplace. An employer who does not foster a healthy work environment and allows such behaviors to continue in the workplace may face liability for the actions of supervisors and managers. If you believe your supervisor is sexually harassing you, it is important that you clearly understand your legal rights.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on gender. This applies to workplaces with 15 employees or more. Sexual harassment is considered a form of gender-based discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII. If you are considering filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you must first file a complaint with the EEOC.
Types of Sexual Harassment by Supervisors
When it comes to sexual harassment by supervisors, there are usually two types of harassment that are commonly seen. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employment decision such as hiring or promotion is based on the employee's submission or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct.
For example, an employee may receive the promise of a job or promotion in exchange for a sexual favor. When an employee refuses, she or he may be met with retaliatory action such as being passed up for a promotion. Quid pro quo harassment typically involves supervisors, managers or others who have the authority or power to make employment decisions affecting employees.
Supervisors may also be involved in sexual harassment when they create a hostile work environment. When the offensive sexual misconduct becomes so chronic or pervasive that it results in a work environment that is hostile, intimidating or offensive, it is illegal. Employees who are not directly subject to the harassing behaviors may also have harassment claims.
Liability of Employers
Employers can be held financially liable for the sexual harassment that is committed by a manager or supervisor and for behavior that results in a tangible employment operation such as hiring, firing or promotions. Employees may be able to obtain an injunction from the court to stop the conduct, job reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and in cases where the conduct was particularly egregious, even punitive damages.
If you believe your manager or supervisor at work has sexually harassed you, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses as well as for infliction of emotional distress. Our sexual harassment attorneys help victims fight for justice and hold at-fault parties accountable. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and we'll do our best to help.