Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Know Your Rights

Sexual harassment is prohibited by Kansas, Missouri, and federal laws. Legal action can be taken when sexual harassment is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when the person is fired, demoted, or disciplined for resisting it.

In one survey done by ABC News and The Washington Post in October 2017, 30% of women said they have experienced an unwanted sexual advance at work. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 7,609 complaints regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace may include:

  • Demands for sexual contact 
  • Sexual advances
  • Unwanted touching
  • Retaliation for not engaging in a sexual activity
  • Unfair treatment because of sex
  • Sexual bribery
  • Offensive pictures in the workplace
  • Sexual jokes in the workplace

How Can You Protect Yourself?

If you believe you are the victim of some form of sexual harassment, you should do the following:

  • Review your employee handbook to better understand your company’s sexual harassment policy.
  • Give notice to your superior about the issue. If your supervisor is the problem, go to his superior and give notice.
  • Keep detailed notes of what has transpired.
  • Keep all emails, texts, notes, and gifts.

You have the right to a discrimination-free workplace, which includes the right to be free of harassment at work. We understand that pursuing a sexual harassment lawsuit can potentially be embarrassing. However, it is important to know exactly how to proceed if you wish to preserve your legal rights and do so within the statute of limitations. A charge must be filed with EEOC within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation in order to protect the charging party's rights. This 180-day filing deadline may be extended to 300 days if the charge also is covered by a state or local anti-discrimination law.

Contact the employment law team at Foster Wallace to learn more. Our experienced attorneys can investigate your situation and help you protect your rights.