What Can an Employee Do About Sexual Harassment?
Employment Discrimination Attorneys in Kane County
Those who have been victimized by sexual harassment often feel powerless to address the situation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state laws provide sexual harassment victims with the right to seek recourse. An experienced lawyer can help you understand what rights you may have.
In some cases, a perpetrator of sexual harassment may not even realize that his or her behavior is offensive or inappropriate. By speaking up, you may be able to put a stop to the harassment quickly, just by bringing it to the offender's attention. If saying something does not resolve the issue, the offender will not be able to claim you never told him or her that there was a problem.
Following Complaint Procedures
Your company may have specific policies in place for addressing potential concerns regarding sexual harassment. If your employer does have such policies, it is important to follow the procedures they provide. Talk to the designated person and utilize all appropriate avenues to ensure your matter gets the attention it deserves.
If there is not a specific sexual harassment policy at your workplace, you should bring your concerns to your immediate supervisor, as long as he or she is not the individual who harassed you. In such cases, go to his or her superior. When a hostile environment is the problem, upper management needs to know about the issue.
Keeping a log of all relevant incidents can be extremely helpful to your case. When you report your concerns, write down who you told, when you told them, and what the response was. Sending a written or email summary of your complaint is also a good idea so that there is no question about your actions.
Filing a Discrimination Charge
If your company refuses to address or appropriately handle the situation, you may need to file a claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). The IDHR is tasked with investigating and resolving claims of employment discrimination, including sexual harassment claims. You may also wish to consult with a skilled sexual harassment attorney to guide you through the process.
Based on the outcome of the investigation, the IDHR may try to resolve your matter directly with the employer, or they may file a lawsuit on your behalf. Should the IDHR decide not to pursue your claim, you will be issued a "right to sue" notice, which means you can bring your case to court.
Once you have been issued a "right to sue" notice, it is up to you to continue the fight. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help you seek reinstatement of your job, back pay or denied benefits, and monetary damages, as well as attorney's fees and court costs. In some cases, punitive damages may even be available, and the attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC can help you determine if you qualify. Contact us today for assistance.