Have You Experienced Sexual Harassment or Gender Discrimination?
Sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace can occur in many different ways. It is important for employees to seek counsel from a qualified sexual harassment attorney and report these incidents appropriately as soon as possible.
Taking proper steps early, including reaching out to a qualified sexual harassment attorney, is critical to achieving successful outcomes. If the problems persist after you report them, an experienced and aggressive employment law attorney can help you protect your rights. Sometimes that can mean filing a discrimination or sexual harassment claim with a sexual harassment attorney.
At the law firm of Robert B. Landry III PLC, in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, we advocate aggressively for victims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. By doing so, we not only help our clients recover full compensation, but we also work with them to ensure that others are not subjected to the same treatment.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment or Discrimination?
Some sexual harassment or gender discrimination is blatant; other incidents are less so, but that doesn’t mean they should be permitted.
Federal and state laws say that sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment. This may include unwanted sexual advances, groping, and lewd jokes.
In most cases, these actions must be pervasive in order to constitute sexual harassment. An isolated incident may not warrant a sexual harassment claim unless it is serious in nature such as rape or an assault. Your sexual harassment attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
Sexual harassment generally falls into one of two categories:
- Hostile environment — A hostile environment is one in which actions by others leave a person so uncomfortable that work performance suffers or a person declines professional opportunities in order to avoid the harasser.
- Quid pro quo — Literally translated as “this for that,” it refers to a demotion, termination or another action on the part of a supervisor that is in response to a rejection of a demand for favors of a sexual nature.
Retaliation claims: If you report sexual harassment or, a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment, and you are retaliated against by your employer as a result, you may have a retaliation claim as well. It is important to report the sexual harassment in writing.
Does sexual harassment have to involve touching?
No. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as discrimination based on sex, which includes behaviors that don’t involve touching but can still affect a worker’s career prospects, unreasonably interfere with their job performance, or create a hostile work environment. Examples include:
- Sharing pictures of shirtless men or women in bikinis.
- Openly telling sexual jokes in the office.
- Posting suggestive pictures and calendars.
- Telling a female colleague she’d look better in a tighter blouse.
Speak to a sexual harassment lawyer in New Orleans if you’re experiencing these behaviors on the job.
What if customers or clients are harassing me?
Under Title VII, an employer has a responsibility to protect its employees from sexual harassment by those outside the company too. This includes but is not limited to:
- Business partners
- Suppliers and vendors
If your employer knows or should reasonably know that you are being harassed by an outside party, they are legally obligated to stop it, no matter how important that party may be to the company’s bottom line. Your manager can’t tell you to “stay away from him” or “ignore it- he’s not here all the time.” If they do, a New Orleans disability discrimination lawyer with experience in filing sexual harassment claims can help you pursue compensation.
Does sexual harassment only involve opposite-sex parties?
No. Although people traditionally think of sexual harassment as a man harassing a woman (or vice-versa), same-sex harassment also occurs and is illegal.
- If you are a woman, your female boss keeps asking you to have drinks with her or questions you about your sex life.
- If you are a man, your male boss constantly sends you emails with explicit pictures of men or women.
Talk to a Baton Rouge sexual harassment lawyer at the law firm of Robert B. Landry III PLC if you’ve been subjected to this type of conduct in the workplace, regardless of the sex of the harasser.
Is it sexual harassment if a coworker asks you on a date?
In most cases, being asked out by a coworker is not sexual harassment, although your employer may have a policy that discourages or bans dating within the company.
If they ask politely, you decline, and they drop the matter, there’s probably no harassment involved. However, if the person continues to ask you out even after you say no, makes unwanted advances toward you, or suggests that declining could affect your future with the company, it definitely becomes sexual harassment.
If a coworker is pressuring you to date them and the company appears to be ignoring or downplaying your concerns, a sexual harassment lawyer in New Orleans can help.
How is gender discrimination different from sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace typically involves at least one of two situations:
- Quid pro quo: Someone at a higher level of power (for example, a manager) demands sexual favors in exchange for a workplace benefit or avoiding a negative outcome, such as demotion or termination.
- Hostile work environment: An employee is made to feel offended or harassed by sex-related situations such as sexual jokes, advances, or sex-based adverse employment actions.
Gender discrimination happens when someone is discriminated against specifically because of their gender or something related to their gender. It could be their gender identification and presentation or their sexual orientation, which is why the terms ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘gender discrimination’ are often interchanged.
What are examples of gender discrimination?
While gender discrimination can involve sexual harassment, it doesn’t always. It is also demonstrated through conduct and statements such as denial of a job based on gender stereotypes, wrongful dismissal, and an adverse change to the terms or conditions of employment.
- Your male colleagues comment that women don’t belong in the workplace.
- The company requires female employees to ‘look feminine’ and live up to gender stereotypes.
- The CEO makes comments like “Why make her a manager? She’ll get pregnant soon and leave.”
A Baton Rouge gender discrimination attorney can review your case and determine whether you have grounds to pursue action against your employer.
Is pregnancy discrimination a form of gender discrimination?
Yes. Pregnancy discrimination is not only illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it can, in some circumstances, be construed to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This generally happens when your employer perceives your pregnancy as a disability and lets that perception guide discriminatory decisions.
Examples of pregnancy discrimination include:
- Your employer demotes or fires you, believing that pregnant women cannot do their jobs.
- A coworker tells others in the office that you took the job solely to get pregnancy leave benefits.
- Negative comments about a pregnant woman’s commitment to her job.
Talk to a gender discrimination attorney in New Orleans if your work environment has become more hostile since you became pregnant.
What Constitutes Gender Discrimination?
Under provisions stipulated in Title VII the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act, an employer cannot make decisions regarding hiring, terminating, promoting or paying an individual based on gender.
Employers are also required to comply with the law and provide a work environment that is not hostile to employees in any manner.
If you feel that you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment or gender bias, contact our sexual harassment attorney today to schedule an appointment. There are strict statutes of limitation in these cases. If you miss a deadline, you may be unable to pursue legal action.