Harassment in the Workplace

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What Is Harassment in the Workplace?

Harassment in the workplace refers to offensive conduct that occurs between employees, or between an employer and an employee. There are two basic kinds of sexual harassment claims under employment laws.

The first is called "hostile work environment" and refers to situations where there is an overall atmosphere of inappropriate conduct or language in the workplace. In many cases this involves indecent jokes, offensive language, or sexist remarks.

The other type of harassment category is "quid pro quo" harassment. This occurs when an employer or a supervisor request that a worker provide sexual favors in exchange for certain work benefits, such as a promotion or pay raise. Both types of harassment categories are treated very seriously and may result in serious legal consequences.

Why Is Harassment in the Workplace Such a Big Deal?

Anti-harassment laws tend to be somewhat strict when it comes to workplace standards. This is because in the past, harassment claims tended to go unreported due to a fear of retaliation by a boss or another worker. For instance, the worker might feel pressure not to report an instance of harassment if their boss or supervisor threatens to fire them for reporting a violation. However, harassment can cause serious damage to a person and should not be ignored or overlooked.

Currently, firing an employee for filing a harassment claim is illegal under employment laws. This is called "retaliatory discharge" or "retaliatory firing" and is considered to be illegal. This means that an employee today cannot be fired for filing a harassment claim with the government, even if the claim turns out to be false. However, laws also protect employers from being victims of false sexual harassment claims.

What Are Some Legal Remedies for Harassment in the Workplace?

For most claims, the defendant will have to pay the plaintiff a monetary damages award. This is intended to reimburse the injured party for costs and losses caused by the harassment, including pain and suffering, medical costs, or loss of wages or a loss of job title. In addition, it may sometimes be necessary to impose other remedies, such as firing an employee or supervisor who was responsible for the harassment.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Harassment in the Workplace?

Workplace disputes can often be very intense and complex, especially if they involve an aspect of sexual harassment. It’s in your best interests to hire a qualified employment lawyer if you need help filing a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with the most up-to-date legal information regarding the harassment laws in your area. Also, your lawyer will be able to represent you during the actual court hearings.

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Last Modified: 01-23-2014 03:12 PM PST

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