Strong Support For Victims Of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based discrimination, whether it is unwanted sexual advances or sexualized behavior that creates a toxic workplace. No one should have to put up with this behavior. In fact, it is illegal under state and federal laws.
At Cleveland Lehner Cassidy, we take sexual harassment claims seriously. We believe that it violates a person’s right to a safe working environment, and we help those victims hold employers and coworkers accountable for their unlawful behavior.
Have you been subjected to sexual harassment at work? Our Indianapolis-based employment attorneys can pursue your legal remedies. Call 317-953-2600 for a free, confidential phone consultation. We take cases statewide.
Understanding Indiana Sexual Harassment Laws
Sexual harassment can be sexual advances, unwelcome physical contact, or verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature. Men or women can be victims. The harasser can also be male or female and does not have to be the opposite sex of the victim. Nor do you have to the direct target of sexual harassment to be offended by the conduct or make a report.
The harasser can be an owner or executive, a supervisor, a coworker or even a nonemployee. The employer becomes liable if a person in a position of authority is committing the harassment or if the company fails to take action when harassing behavior by a coworker or customer is reported. The employer has a duty to investigate complaints and protect the victim(s) from further harassment. Additionally, employees who report sexual harassment are protected from retaliation. This means that the employer cannot threaten, reprimand, demote, fire or otherwise take negative employment actions against the reporting party.
How Do You Know If You’re A Victim?
Not every type of unwanted behavior in the workplace constitutes illegal harassment. Minor behavior or isolated incidents likely will not constitute sexual harassment. On the other hand, behavior that is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment is illegal.
To help determine whether you have been the victim of illegal sexual harassment, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you experienced unwanted advances or inappropriate touching at work?
- Have you endured leers or suggestive comments about your body?
- Have you been exposed to sexually explicit language or images in the workplace?
- Do you dread coming to work because of persistent unwelcome attention?
- Have you been offered a raise, a promotion or other job perks in exchange for sexual favors, or have you been demoted or had your pay reduced because you rebuffed sexual advances?
If any of the above sound familiar, you may have grounds for legal action, especially if the misconduct was egregious or frequent. If you are unsure if you experienced sexual harassment, we will listen to your story and help you understand how to hold the offender and your employer accountable.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Performing sexual favors or subjecting yourself to any form of sexual harassment is not part of the job. Your boss cannot offer you a pay increase or promotion in exchange for sex, and you cannot be forced to accept unwanted comments as a condition of employment. Such behavior can be considered quid pro quo sexual harassment. Such conduct is illegal – even if you agree to it – because of the power differential. A supervisor or owner is in a position to influence your compensation, advancement or continued employment if you say no or if you initially consent but later want the behavior to stop.
Employers who engage in this conduct or foster a hostile work environment that permits it can be held liable for damages. Our employment law attorneys fight for employees who are made to believe they have to choose between their job and enduring sexual harassment.
Find Out How Our Team Can Help
Employers are not always liable for harassment that happens in the workplace. If an employee is being sexually harassed in the workplace, the law requires the employee to report the behavior to the employer. If the victim of harassment fails to do so, he or she may not be able to pursue a legal claim against the employer. However, a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment may not have to report the behavior to later bring a legal claim against the employer.
Navigating a sexual harassment claim can be difficult. There are certain steps you must take to document and report the behavior, and sometimes employers make only a half-hearted attempt to investigate or stop the behavior. Our attorneys guide you through the process and take action to hold employers responsible. We provide a free initial consultation and your employer will not know you met with us unless you decide to go forward with a lawsuit.