EEOC Lawyer Tampa, FL
Our Tampa, FL EEOC lawyer knows that one of the most serious issues that can occur in the workplace is sexual harassment. It is a violation of both state and federal laws and can be committed by and against numerous different individuals. Sexual harassment is considered a civil rights violation.
Defining Sexual Harassment
Under federal law, sexual harassment is defined as any sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is not welcomed. The conduct must be so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile or intimidating workplace. It is important to note that sexual harassment can occur between people of the same or opposite gender. Further, a victim does not need to be the individual being harassed. If an individual is affected by offensive conduct, a sexual harassment claim may be made.
Specifically, sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Title VII applies to state and local governments, employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) encourages employers to provide training on sexual harassment and to communicate to employees that it will not be tolerated. Under state law, companies and state agencies must develop policies on sexual harassment. State agencies must post these policies in a prominent and accessible location, as well as distribute them to all employees.
As a Tampa EEOC lawyer can explain, victims of sexual harassment can file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. The potential remedies may include compensatory and punitive damages, though the damage awards are capped dependent upon the size of the employer. For example, the damage award is capped at $50,000 for employers with 15-100 employees.
Victims of sexual harassment who are federal employees must follow specific procedures when making a claim. Under most circumstances, a federal employee must contact an EEOC counselor of the agency where the harassment occurred within 45 days of the date of the harassment. After the claim has been made, it is addressed either through EEO counseling or alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation.
It is important to note that federal employees cannot file a lawsuit until attempting to resolve the matter through the administrative complaint process. However, during the process, there are opportunities to initiate a lawsuit under the following circumstances:
- 180 days have passed since the complaint was filed and no decision has been made and no appeal has been filed
- Within 90 days of the complainant receiving the agency’s decision, as long as no appeal has been filed
- 180 days have passed from the filing of an appeal if no decision has been issued by the EEOC
- Within 90 days from the date the complainant receives the EEOC’s decision after an appeal
Call Our EEOC Law Firm
If you believe that you have been a victim of sexual harassment, it is important to contact an experienced Tampa EEOC lawyer from Hoyer Law Group, PLLC to see what legal remedy you may have for the harassment you have endured.
Signs Of Sexual Harassment
As a Tampa, FL EEOC lawyer from Hoyer Law Group, PLLC can explain, sexual harassment entails unwanted and non-consensual advances, favors, or physical or verbal harassment. Every person deserves to go about their day, including work, without being harassed by someone else. Sexual harassment in particular can make someone feel shame, anger, and fearful of future incidents. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment of a sexual nature does not always need to be directed at an individual person. For instance, negative comments about women as a gender group may be seen as a form of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a term used to describe many forms of unwanted physical and verbal sexual attention. Assault that is sexual in nature refers to sexual behavior or contact, frequently physical, that happens without consent. Unwelcome sexual conduct typically violates a person’s right to learn or work without harassment. Sexual harassment can happen in a learning environment or workplace. It can also occur in various scenarios, such as conversations during after work hours, exchanges in hallways, and non-office related settings with employees. Examples of sexual harassment that warrants contacting a Tampa EEOC lawyer can include:
- Sexual assault on a physical level
- Sexual favor requests
- Making advancement or employment conditions dependent on implicit or explicit sexual favors
- Unwanted physical contact or touching
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Verbal harassment, such as sexual jokes or references to sexual acts or orientation
- Talking about fantasies, sexual relationships, or stories
- Feeling pressure to engage in sexual acts with someone
- Performing or exposing sexual acts on oneself
- Unwanted sexually explicit text messages, emails, or photos
- Unwanted sexual touching or fondling
- Forcing a person to perform sexual acts
- Penetration of the victim’s body (rape)
- Attempted rape
Being the victim of sexual harassment may cause some survivors to endure physical, emotional, and mental health struggles. The emotional effects include fear, anger, shame, humiliation, guilt, violation, betrayal, loss of control, and powerlessness. It isn’t uncommon for victims to have anxiety, panic attacks, depression, difficulty concentrating, PTSD, substance abuse, loss of motivation, and suicidal ideation. The physical effects can entail headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, eating disturbances, and increased stress levels.
Force does not always refer to physical pressure either. The perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment may use psychological force, emotional coercion, or manipulation to coax someone into sex that is non-consensual. Some offenders may even use threats to force someone to comply, such as threatening to harm them, their family, or other tactics of intimidation. It’s important to keep in mind that harassment may not be obvious, as it can be subliminal and non-direct too.
If you are dealing with a sexual harassment situation and are considering hiring a lawyer, then now is the time to have a dedicated legal team intervene to protect you. Here at Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, we understand the emotional turmoil associated with serious offenses like these. We will do everything within our legal power to hold the offender accountable for their heinous acts. All you have to do is call. A Tampa EEOC lawyer is ready to hear from you and immediately protect you from future incidents.