Illinois Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Sexual Harassment Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can my employer retaliate against me for reporting sexual harassment?
A. While employers often retaliate against employees for filing sexual harassment lawsuits, there are many state and federal laws that make retaliation illegal. If you file a sexual harassment claim and are subsequently fired, passed over for a raise or promotion, or forced to quit, your employer could face serious consequences.
Q. Is sexual harassment limited to men harassing women?
A. No. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated by individuals of any gender or sexual identity against victims of any gender or sexual identity. The Illinois Human Rights Act does not account for gender when it defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors" in return for employment related benefits.
Q. Is asking a co-worker for a date considered sexual harassment?
A. The law in Illinois does not prohibit you from asking a co-worker to go on a date with you. If, however, your co-worker does not agree to go on a date, repeatedly asking the same person could possibly create a sexual harassment situation in the form of a hostile work environment.
Q. I had a relationship with a co-worker but ended it. If he or she harasses me, is it sexual harassment?
A. A prior intimate relationship is not an excuse for sexual harassment. Unwanted sexual advances are against the law, regardless of your personal history with the offender. You have the right to file a claim with Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A private lawsuit is also possible with the help of an experienced employment discrimination lawyer.
Q. Is a comment about my clothing or appearance from a co-worker or supervisor sexual harassment?
A. A compliment regarding your appearance or clothing is not necessarily considered sexual harassment. If the comment does not end there, however, or includes remarks about your body or physical attributes, it could cross the line as a verbal form of sexual harassment.
Q. I was passed over for a promotion and my boss's boyfriend got the promotion instead. Is this sexual harassment?
A. Somebody else being giving a promotion—even your supervisor's significant other—is not sexual harassment. If, however, you were denied the promotion because you refused to comply with sexual requests from your supervisor, you do have a sexual harassment case.
Q. A co-worker downloads pornography to his work computer. Is this sexual harassment?
A. Depending on the circumstances, pornographic material in the workplace could be a type of sexual harassment. If your co-worker shows you the material or makes explicit or obscene comments, and you feel uncomfortable, you could be the victim of hostile environment sexual harassment.
Q. My co-worker told a joke with mild sexual content, which did not offend me, and I found it funny. Was sharing the joke sexual harassment?
A. Employers in Illinois have a responsibility to create a safe work environment for all employees. If the joke could have been overheard, another person may have found it offensive, creating a hostile work environment, which is one type of sexual harassment. Telling a sexually-charged joke at work is not appropriate and may violate your company's sexual harassment policy.
Q. A regular client makes offensive sexual comments when he sees me. Is this sexual harassment?
A. While a customer is not your employer or a supervisor, your employer could be responsible for sexual harassment for knowing the customer's behavior and refusing to address the situation. Under Illinois law, such a case could be considered third-party sexual harassment.
Q. Is sexual harassment a criminal matter?
A. Sexual harassment can be a criminal offense. An offender could face charges if the behavior includes sexual assault, stalking, or threats of sexual misconduct. If you have been sexually harassed and the abuse included unwanted physical contact, speak with an employment discrimination lawyer at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC right away. Email us directly or call 630-665-7300.