Find the right lawyer now

Harassment in the Workplace Remedies | LegalMatch Law Library

Find a Local Employment Lawyer near You

What is Harassment in the Workplace?

Harassment in the workplace generally consists of conduct that is offensive, repressive, unwanted, or unwarranted in a work environment. There are two basic forms of harassment in the workplace: hostile work environment and sexual. Harassment in the workplace can come in many forms:

  • Unwanted sexual advances;
  • Requests for sexual favors;
  • Verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature would also constitute sexual harassment; and/or
  • Making offensive remarks about a person’s sex.

Hostile work environment harassment consists of ongoing conduct that is considered highly offensive and discriminatory against a person’s race, gender, religious beliefs, or other characteristics.

Sexual harassment consists of behavior such as unwanted sexual advances, vulgar or offensive language, or requests to perform sexual favors in exchange for promotions or benefits. All types of workplace harassment are considered very serious and are often met with very strict legal penalties.

What are Some Remedies for Harassment in the Workplace?

Penalties and remedies for harassment in the workplace may come in many forms. The type or types of remedies issued by a judge will depend on the exact type of harassment involved, as well as the nature of the damages or losses experienced by the plaintiff. Common harassment remedies include:

  • Damages Awards: These may be issued by a court for economic losses, such as a loss of wages or a loss of earning ability. They may also be awarded for other issues, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering.
  • Re-hiring: If a person was fired or terminated due to harassment or discrimination, they may be re-hired if it can be proven that their termination was due to harassment.
  • Change in Company Policies: Widespread violations may result in company-wide changes, such as mandatory educational classes or changes to the employee handbook.
  • Termination of the Offender: In severe cases, it is common for the employer to fire the employee or supervisor who is responsible for the harassment.

In addition, some harassment cases may need to be processed by a government agency such as the EEOC, especially if the harassment involves discrimination in any way. This may result in additional investigations into the situation, as well as other remedies proposed by the agency.

What Should I Do If I Have a Harassment Claim?

Harassment in the workplace is illegal under state and federal laws. The typical procedure for filing a sexual harassment claim is as follows:

  1. Write it Down: Make sure to write down the details of the incident, possible witnesses, and gather any physical evidence that could help your claim.
  2. Review Your Company Policies: Your employer should have mechanisms in place that allow you to make a complaint through the human resources department of your company.
  3. Report to Supervisor: If harassment continues, you must report to your supervisor. If the harasser is your supervisor, report to someone higher or to the HR department. If the harasser is the highest-ranking individual in the workplace, report to the HR department or any other management personnel.
  4. File Complaint with EEOC: The first complaint you need to file is with the EEOC. The agency will investigate your claim and may take action with your employer to provide for your remedy
  5. File a Civil Complaint: If the EEOC does not resolve the issue, you may have to file a lawsuit in civil court. This will require you to provide evidence in support of your claim, such as written statements or witness testimony.

You should be prepared to take several steps in connection with your harassment claim. Most state laws require you to “exhaust the possible remedies” before you can file a lawsuit.

In particular, filing with a government agency such as EEOC is usually required before you can file a civil lawsuit.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Harassment Remedies?

Harassment in the workplace can often lead to some very serious legal consequences. You may need to hire an employment lawyer if you need help pursuing remedies for a harassment case.

Your attorney can help research the laws in your state to help you understand what your options might be in terms of remedies. Also, if you need to file with the EEOC or if you need to file a private lawsuit, your lawyer can represent you during those processes as well.

Photo of page author Ki Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-09-2018 02:50 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.