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Harassment in the Workplace Remedies

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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.

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: Wide-spread 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?

In most cases, it is best for you to begin by working your way up the “chain of reporting.”  For instance, you may wish to begin by filing a claim through internal means, such as through the human resources department or with a supervisor. In some cases, the company itself may be able to suggest a suitable remedy.

In cases where this is not enough, you may need to file a private civil lawsuit for damages or other remedies. If you do file a private civil lawsuit, you should compile all evidence related to the harassment, including e-mails, transcripts, witness testimony, pay-stubs, and any other documented evidence. This evidence can help prove your claim in court.

Lastly, as mentioned, it may sometimes be necessary to file with the EEOC or some similar agency. In some cases, you may need to file with the EEOC before you can file a private lawsuit. You may need to check with a lawyer to determine what the proper steps are for you to take to obtain relief.

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 Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-02-2015 05:14 PM PDT

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