Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is a serious and ongoing problem affecting many workplaces in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. Unfortunately, sexual harassment victims often are concerned about retaliation and the impact to their career when bringing these claims forward. Potomac Legal Group is experienced in navigating these issues when representing victims of sexual harassment.
The Firm seeks to resolve disputes through negotiation or meditation to maintain discretion while minimizing the career impact and maximizing the recovery. When litigation is necessary, our attorneys are experienced and will vigorously pursue every available claim.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, then you may contact the Firm immediately to discuss your matter in confidence. Our experienced employment attorneys are available to advise you on the steps you must take to preserve your claims, pursue damages and protect yourself and your career.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment may occur through the inappropriate actions of any co-worker, colleague, office friend, supervisor, manager or executive. Your employer may also be liable for the actions of a vendor, client or contractor whose principals or employees sexually harassed you at a work site or while performing any of your work duties.
The legal definition of sexual harassment includes many types of harassment. Generally, any unwelcome touching, inappropriate discussion, indecent exposure or explicit written or electronic communications or imagery would be covered by laws that protect you.
Any sexual activity that a supervisor requires you to perform in order to receive a raise, promotion or other benefit falls under the definition of sexual harassment, as well as any suggestion to engage in such an activity to receive a benefit.
An employee who feels forced into accepting sexual or romantic advances may have claims for sexual harassment, as the relationship was based upon coercion in violation of the law.
The harasser does not have to be the opposite sex, and the victim could be anyone affected by the conduct. A sexual harassment victim may bring claims against their employer while still employed. Most importantly, the law defines the harasser’s actions as always unwelcome.
Hostile Work Environment
Employees experiencing sexual harassment may also be subject to a hostile work environment where the workplace environment is so toxic, intimidating, aggressive, severe and pervasive that the employee has a difficult time working and performing the job functions.
Hostility may derive from the attitudes, personality or culture of management or co-workers. It is not acceptable or lawful for an employer to require an employee to accept the culture of a workplace when it’s hostile, demeaning or sexually charged.
When to Contact a Lawyer
Rules regarding boundaries, inappropriate activity, language and appropriate communications should be clear to every employee. If you believe that you experienced sexual harassment, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Our attorneys will help protect your rights, and the Firm will demand that any ongoing harassment stop while seeking a resolution for your claims.
Should you have any questions about your experience, contact Potomac Legal Group for an in-depth review of your situation.
You may also have claims for harassing behavior that occurred in the past, even if you failed to report the behavior. Our attorneys will assess your situation and discuss the options with you.
Employees terminated after reporting sexual harassment may have claims for harassment and retaliation. It’s not uncommon for an employer to manufacture a performance-based pretext for terminating an employee after that person made a sexual harassment complaint.
Retaliation is unlawful and may negatively affect your career. Unlawful retaliation may lead to termination that will impact your employment record. Ideally, legal representation would result in a negotiated separation and a mutually agreed reason for ending employment, as well as settlement pay.
Who The Law Protects
Employees in every position are protected by the same laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects you regardless of seniority. You may be a seasoned executive or a newly recruited assistant in your first job at any type of employer. State laws also protect employees. The DC Human Rights Act, the Virginia Human Rights Act and the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act are statutes that an employer may violate when an employee is subject to sexual harassment.
The law applies to anyone performing work for an employer. This includes full-time and part-time employees, contract employees, seasonal workers and temporary employees.
Terminated sexual harassment victims must also seek counsel to protect their rights.
Our attorneys represent employees throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia who have been sexual harassment victims at any type of employer, including:
- Private Businesses
- Public Corporations
- Fortune 500 Companies
- Trade Associations
- Law, Accounting & Consulting Firms
- Government Contractors
- Schools & Universities
- Tech Companies & Startups
- Federal, State & Local Government
If you believe that you’re the victim of sexual harassment, you should contact our lawyers immediately to discuss your rights. You may contact us regardless of whether you have taken other steps, including reporting the harassing behavior to your employer or contacting the EEOC.
The employer’s interests are in protecting itself and any internal investigation will likely focus on limiting the employer’s legal liability. Without an attorney advocating for your interests, you will not have anyone protecting your rights.