Who Can Be A Harasser?
It is important to know a harasser may be a victim’s supervisor, co-worker, an agent of the company, or even someone who is not employed by or does not represent the organization directly (such as a client or customer). The harasser can be male or female and can also be someone of the same sex.
You do not have to be the person who was directly harassed. Anyone aﬀected by the oﬀensive conduct can ﬁle a claim.
Laws Addressing Sexual Harassment
Workers are protected by both state and federal sexual harassment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts and other regulations.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
The right to be free from sexual harassment at work is federally protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. As such, workers from companies of 15 or more employees may be able to pursue a federal sexual harassment claim as a form of sex discrimination.
State Rules Against Sexual Harassment
The Texas Workforce Commission helps to protect employees in the state who believe they have been sexually harassed. Its Civil Rights Division and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can investigate claims for unwelcome conduct in companies with 15 or more employees.
Retaliation against an individual for reporting sexual harassment, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation is strictly prohibited by law. Retaliation can also occur when an individual informs the harasser or their employer that they will not tolerate or submit to the harassment and because of that, suﬀers a negative employment action such as termination.
What To Do If You Are Being Sexually Harassed
Most employers have a reporting policy that provides contact options for the employee to report incidents of sexual harassment. It's always a good idea to exhaust this option where feasible. However, if you feel uncomfortable with the reporting options (for example, it requires you to report any complaints to your supervisor but your supervisor is the person doing the harassing) or your complaints have not solicited a reasonable response, then you should contact an employment law attorney immediately.
Also, if you have experienced retaliation as a result of exercising your rights under sexual harassment laws, help is available.
The employment law attorneys at Starzyk & Associates are experienced in pursuing both federal and state sexual harassment lawsuits. We handle all stages of the litigation process and will address each situation with compassion and dignity.