Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
In many offices and on worksites, coworkers frequently joke around with each other, flirt, and make comments about other workers’ appearances. Sometimes these comments are considered all in good fun, but other times these types of interactions make fellow employees uncomfortable. Sexual harassment is a common issue today, causing distress for the person being harassed, and creating an overall hostile work environment. When does a joke or office flirtation cross the line into sexual harassment? There are federal laws defining harassing and overly sexual behavior against employees, and employers can face severe penalties for fostering or allowing these types of behaviors. Injuries caused by sexual harassment are more than just psychological; the trauma of working in this type of environment can result in physical problems that affect a worker’s health both at home and on the job.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Once something that was overlooked, swept under the table, and even indulged by some employers, sexual harassment is now a leading legal issue in the workplace. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, and a violation of both state and federal laws. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates claims of sexual harassment and holds employers accountable for their actions. Under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act, types of sexual harassment for which employees may be entitled to legal recourse include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Offering raises or promotions in return for a sexual relationship
- Threatening an employee’s job, pay, or benefits for failing to perform sexual acts
- Posting or distributing sexually explicit or degrading content
- Making sexual comments meant to antagonize, intimidate or demean employees
Sexual harassment may come from a boss or supervisor, as well as fellow employees, and the intended target of this type of harassment can be men as well as women.
Injuries Due to Sexual Harassment
According to research conducted by the non-profit group Stop Violence Against Women (StopVAW), there are a number of harmful and potentially serious physical and psychological effects as the result of sexual harassment against both men and women. These include:
- Adverse health effects resulting from drastic weight loss or gain
- Severe depression and loss of enjoyment of life
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Severe headaches and neuromuscular issues
- Panic disorders and anxiety attacks
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
The financial ramifications of sexual harassment can be severe. These include lost wages due to sick days, being passed over for raises or bonuses, and being relocated or terminated from the job.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Attorneys Today
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm today. Our experienced South Carolina attorneys understand the serious physical, psychological, and financial impacts resulting from discrimination and harassment on the job. We’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we are prepared to assist you today.