Legal Protections Against Sexual Harassment: Understanding Your Rights

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On Behalf of Law Offices of Eric A. Boyajian | June 14, 2023 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects individuals in various aspects of their lives, including in the workplace, educational institutions, and even public spaces. It is important to be aware of your rights and the legal protections available to you in order to combat and prevent sexual harassment. Keep reading as we explore the legal landscape surrounding sexual harassment, empowering you with the knowledge you need to navigate these challenging situations.

Defining Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment encompasses unwanted sexual advances, such as physical or verbal conduct that is inappropriate and of a sexual nature, or unwanted requests for sexual favors. It is crucial to understand that sexual harassment can occur between individuals of any gender and is not limited to one specific setting. Women, men, and non-binary people can all be victims, and the harasser can be of the same or another sex.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

One of the most significant legal protections against sexual harassment in the US is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits sex-based discrimination in the workplace, including sexual harassment. This federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees and covers a broad range of situations and behaviors that can constitute sexual harassment.

Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Work Environments

Title VII recognizes two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environments. Quid pro quo harassment refers to when employment decisions or opportunities are based on an individual’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances. Hostile work environment harassment, on the other hand, involves an intimidating, offensive, or hostile atmosphere that interferes with an individual’s ability to perform their job.

Legal Remedies and the EEOC’s Role

If you have experienced sexual harassment at the workplace, it is important to understand your legal rights and remedies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing Title VII and handling any complaints related to discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. Before you file a lawsuit, it’s generally required that you file a charge with the EECO and receive a right-to-sue letter. The EEOC will investigate the charge and may attempt to resolve the matter through mediation or other means.

Preventing Sexual Harassment

Prevention is key to effectively addressing sexual harassment. Employers have a responsibility to create a safe, respectful work environment. They should establish clear policies against sexual harassment, provide training to employees, and promptly investigate and address any complaints. Employees can play an active role in preventing sexual harassment by reporting incidents, supporting their colleagues, and promoting a culture of inclusion and respect.

Title IX and Sexual Harassment in Education

Beyond the workplace, sexual harassment is a significant concern in educational settings. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs or activities receiving federal funding. This law also addresses sexual harassment, including both peer-to-peer harassment and harassment by school staff members. Students who experience sexual harassment can file complaints with the school and, if necessary, involve the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Public Spaces and Safety

Sexual harassment is not limited to the workplace and educational institutions; it can also occur in public spaces. While laws regarding public harassment may vary, most jurisdictions have enacted legislation to address this issue. These laws aim to protect individuals from offensive comments, unwanted advances, and other forms of sexual harassment in public areas, such as parks, transportation, and streets. It is important to become familiar with your local laws to understand the protections available to you in public spaces and the procedures for reporting incidents of sexual harassment.

Statute of Limitations

It is also important to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim. This sets a time limit within which a claim must be filed after the incident occurred. The timeframe can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. In California, the general statute of limitations for sexual harassment is two years from the date of the last act of harassment. However, there may be exceptions and variations based on factors such as the type of claim or the victim’s age.

How We Can Help

If you have experienced sexual harassment and need legal assistance, we’re here to help at Eric A. Boyajian. We can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate the often-tricky legal process and fight for your rights. Don’t let sexual harassment go unaddressed – take action today and contact us to schedule a consultation. Your voice deserves to be heard, and we will make sure that it is. Our contact details are:

450 N Brand Blvd #613, Glendale, CA 91203

Call us today for a free consultation, on (818) 839-5969