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.
Fighting Against Discrimination
A Tampa EEOC lawyer knows that people who are targets of discrimination not only suffer emotional pain from this mistreatment but there are also often financial hardships, as well. Whether the discrimination occurred at work, at school, applying for housing, or other types of environments, discrimination is against both federal and Florida law. At Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, we aggressively advocate for discrimination victims and fight to make sure they get the financial justice they deserve. Whether that discrimination is due to the victim’s gender, race, sexual orientation, or other reason, our legal team is here to help.
Both state and federal laws have been put in place to prevent employers from discriminating against an employee because of their age. These laws also apply when companies are reducing their workforce. This law also applies to retirement – a company cannot force an older employee to take early retirement or reduce their benefits because they are of a certain age.
Federal and state laws recognize that individuals with disabilities have just as much right to be productive members of society as those who are not disabled. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against someone when it comes to hiring, pay, promotions, or benefits because they are disabled. There are also laws in place that require certain types of property owners, organizations, businesses, and government entities to guarantee that a disabled person has access to those locations. Failure to obey those laws can be considered a form of disability discrimination.
The law prohibits a person from being discriminated against because of their gender. Unfortunately, many employers do not always abide by that law, and women, in particular, have suffered the consequences by receiving less pay than men and less opportunity at advancement.
Whether an individual is applying for housing, or employment, or wants to engage in a business transaction (i.e. shopping), no entity is allowed to discriminate against someone because of their race or color. If this occurs, it is an illegal act.
A person cannot be discriminated against because of the type of religion they practice or believe in.
Sexual Preference Discrimination
A person cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual preference. If an employee is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered – or if their employer thinks they are – it is against the law for that employer to treat them any differently than other employees. An employer is also responsible for ensuring that other employees are not allowed to harass or create a hostile work environment because of the employee’s sexual preference.
Tampa EEOC Infographic
Contact Our Firm For Help
If you have been a victim of any type of discrimination, there are often legal avenues that victims can take. A Tampa EEOC lawyer can help. Our law firm will assist you in pursuing complaints, both on the federal and state level. We will also help you in pursuing civil action in order to obtain financial compensation for the harm you have suffered. Call Hoyer Law Group, PLLC to find out what legal recourse you may have.
Tampa EEOC Lawyer FAQs
When you’re hoping to connect with a reputable Tampa, FL EEOC lawyer, you can take comfort in knowing that the track record of the team at the Hoyer Law Group, PLLC speaks for itself. However, you may – very understandably – be unsure of exactly what the EEOC is, what it does, and whether you ultimately need to speak with a Tampa EEOC lawyer. Consider some of the most commonly asked questions that our team fields about this government agency and why it matters.
What is the EEOC?
The EEOC, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is a federal agency responsible for enforcing laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. Its mission is to ensure equal opportunity in employment by investigating charges of discrimination, providing guidance and education to employers and employees, and pursuing legal action when necessary.
What laws does the EEOC enforce?
The EEOC enforces several federal laws that protect employees from workplace discrimination. Some of the key laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (prohibiting age discrimination against individuals aged 40 or older), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (prohibiting disability discrimination), and the Equal Pay Act (EPA) (prohibiting gender-based wage discrimination).
How does the EEOC handle discrimination complaints?
When an individual believes they have been discriminated against, they can file a complaint, or charge, with the EEOC. The EEOC investigates the charge by gathering information from both the charging party and the employer. The EEOC may attempt to mediate a resolution between the parties, or it may conduct a thorough investigation. If the EEOC finds evidence of discrimination, it may initiate a lawsuit or seek a settlement. If the EEOC does not find sufficient evidence, it may issue a “right-to-sue” letter to the charging party, allowing them to pursue a private lawsuit.
Can individuals file a lawsuit without going through the EEOC?
In most cases, individuals must file a charge with the EEOC before pursuing a private lawsuit. The EEOC requires individuals to exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a charge within a specified time frame (usually 180 days or 300 days, depending on the state and the type of discrimination alleged). However, there are exceptions, such as when a charge is filed with a state or local fair employment practices agency that has a work-sharing agreement with the EEOC. Additionally, some state laws provide their own avenues for pursuing discrimination claims.
What other services does the EEOC provide?
In addition to its enforcement role, the EEOC provides guidance and education to employers, employees, and the public. It offers resources such as publications, webinars, and training programs to promote understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities. The EEOC also engages in outreach efforts to raise awareness about discrimination and educate stakeholders about best practices for promoting equal employment opportunity. By fostering compliance and offering assistance, the EEOC aims to prevent discrimination and promote inclusive workplaces.
Unfortunately, despite its best efforts, discrimination in the workplace continues to be a pressing issue for many Americans. If you could benefit from speaking with an experienced Tampa EEOC lawyer, know that the Hoyer Law Group, PLLC can help.