Work can be stressful enough. You should not also have to tolerate unwelcome sexual behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable. In fact, a 2010 Texas Supreme Court decision, Waffle House, Inc. v. Williams, said as much. This landmark case made it official that sexual harassment is prohibited by the state laws of fair employment practices.

If you feel that you are being subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, and it is making your workplace feel hostile and intimidating, it’s time to call a lawyer. At Starzyk & Associates, we litigate sexual harassment cases across the State of Texas.

Sexual Harassment Defined

Sexual harassment does not discriminate by gender. Both men and women have been subjected to it, and both have been accused of it.

A person may be deemed to have been sexually harassed at work if they have experienced any of the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances

  • Requests for sexual favors

  • Physical touching of a sexual nature

  • Other actions that create an offensive work environment

Sexual harassment may also be more subtle in nature such as:

  • Discussing one's sex life

  • Asking someone about their sex life

  • Sexually suggestive emails or text messages

  • Displaying or circulating inappropriate, nude photos

  • Spreading sexual rumors about an individual

Although the laws prohibiting sexual harassment don't prohibit simple jokes, dismissive remarks, or minor infrequent incidents, harassment is illegal where it is “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms, conditions, or privileges of the victim’s employment.”



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 Prohibited

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.


If you have been made to feel uncomfortable on the job, and the unwelcome behavior was sexual in nature, please call us as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Starzyk & Associates, P.C. can help you find justice for harassment and we will help you fight to protect your rights to a safe and respectful work environment. Contact us today to set up a consultation.