Sexual harassment often creates an uncomfortable or hostile work environment for employees or job applicants that can make it difficult to fulfill their duties. Although employees are protected from sexual harassment by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some face retaliation from their employers for reporting sexual harassment.
How Is Sexual Harassment Defined in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Human Rights Commission follows the federal definition of sexual harassment, which defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of employment
- Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions, or
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Examples of sexual harassment may include:
- Making derogatory or sexual jokes or comments about a person’s appearance, behavior, and/or romantic relationships
- Verbal abuse
- Inappropriate touching
- Requesting sexual favors or dates, or promising monetary or career-based rewards in exchange for sexual favors
- Following a person around or impeding their movement
- Displaying or sharing sexual images
- Any unequal treatment of an employee that would not occur but for the employee’s gender
If you are uncomfortable with the way you are treated in the workplace but unsure if what you are experiencing is sexual harassment, it may help to consult with an employment lawyer about your circumstances.
Effects of Sexual Harassment
Victims of sexually-related harassment may suffer from a wide variety of physical, psychological, and social effects, such as:
- depression, anxiety, and panic attacks
- increased absenteeism and poor attendance
- loss of trust in colleagues and superiors
- nightmares and trouble sleeping
- objectification and humiliation
- stress and impaired work performance
If you’re dealing with harassment that is sexual in nature, these symptoms can cause a serious disruption in your life. At Ponce Law, we’ve seen the impact this type of harassment can have on people’s professional and personal lives—and it’s our goal to stand up for your rights.
The Four Steps to Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
- Speak with your harasser.
Even if you don’t believe it will make them stop, it is important to let your harasser know you are offended by their behavior. In a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the attention was unwanted, and the easiest way is to establish a record of you directly informing your harasser.
- Inform your company.
If the behavior does not stop after confronting your harasser, check with your HR department or employee handbook and follow your employer’s procedure for filing a harassment complaint. By making the company aware of the situation, this gives them the opportunity to take action and ensures they can be held liable for failing to do so, or for taking retaliatory action against you.
- File a Claim with the EEOC.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency responsible for discrimination claims. You must file a claim with the EEOC within 300 days of the harassment. You cannot file a lawsuit until first filing an official complaint through this agency and requesting a right to sue letter. You must file your lawsuit within 90 days of receiving your right to sue letter.
- Contact an Employment Lawyer.
The team at Ponce Law will get to work compiling evidence that proves you were sexually harassed.
The Ponce Law No Fee Guarantee®
Don’t let lawyer fees scare you away from hiring a legal representative if you’re being sexually harassed at work. Harassment cases can be difficult to prove, and discriminatory workplaces should be held accountable for their actions. Contact the team at Ponce Law today to tell us your story–there are no fees or charges for a case review, and if you decide to hire us, you pay us nothing unless we win your claim.
We Have the Experience You Deserve
Filing a claim for sexual harassment or retaliation against your employer can be intimidating, but our sexual harassment lawyers can help. We’ve handled many claims for sex harassment victims with confidence and confidentiality, and we’ll give your case the personal attention it deserves. Contact us today—we’ll do everything we can to help you move forward with your life.