Sexual Harassment Defense Lawyer
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What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature aimed at an employee. There are two theories of sexual harassment under which an employee may try to pursue a claim:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer conditions an employment decision on whether an employee gives in to a sexual demand. This includes hiring, promoting, and firing decisions. For example, a supervisor demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment.
- Hostile work place sexual harassment occurs when the unwanted sexual conduct creates either a hostile work environment or causes the employee’s work performance to suffer. For instance, constant inappropriate comments about a coworker’s body may make the coworker feel extremely uncomfortable.
What Actions Constitute Sexual Harassment?
A wide variety of physical and verbal actions constitute sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Physical sexual assault
- Pressuring an employee for sexual favors
- Making inappropriate or sexually charged comments about an employee’s body
- Pressuring an employee for dates
- Asking inappropriate sexual questions
- Telling the employee inappropriate sexual stories
- Sharing unwanted nude photos
- Cat calls, whistling, or kissing noises
- Unwanted touching such as shoulder massages
- Sexually touching oneself in front of the employee
- Sharing sexual jokes or cartoons
- Spreading lies about the employee’s sex life
How Do I Defend Against Sexual Harassment Accusations?
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Your supervisor calls you into his office and tells you that you’re being investigated for sexual harassment. What do you do? How do you save your job? How can you avoid a lawsuit?
First and most importantly, stay calm and collected. You may feel panicked, but responding to sexual harassment allegations with angry outbursts will make you seem defensive and guilty. Do not try to retaliate. In addition, staying calm will help you think clearly about your situation.
Second, provide your side of the story in writing. Avoid insulting the accuser. Include the names of any potential witnesses.
Third, if there are any witnesses, have them contact your supervisor or human resources. One of the best defenses to sexual harassment is that the unwanted sexual conduct never occurred. If your witness can help corroborate your claim that the accusations are false, you will be able to strengthen your defense.
Fourth, if the conduct did occur but it was consensual, be upfront and honest with your supervisor about this. The conduct cannot be sexual harassment if it was welcomed or consensual.
Fifth, be cooperative with any investigation that your company conducts. Provide any documentation, answers or otherwise.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Accused of Sexual Harassment?
You should absolutely consult a sexual harassment defense lawyer even if you are innocent. Sexual harassment allegations in the work place have a snowball effect and can hurt your employment and reputation and result in a lengthy civil lawsuit. An employment lawyer with expertise in allegations of sexual harassment can advise you on what to say to human resources, how to best protect your job, and how to properly defend against the charges.
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Last Modified: 10-09-2015 09:12 PM PDT
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