Victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault can file a lawsuit in civil court against the guilty party, and in a few instances, additional parties. If you’ve been a sexual harassment victim in the workplace, then you may be eligible for compensation.
But before proceeding to any other topic, let us discuss first what Sexual Harassment is. Personal Injury: Sexual Harassment at Work by HG.org has this information.
Sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwelcome sexual acts or comments. Not only can it cause victims emotional stress, but it is also against the law. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is unlawful to harass an employee or employer regarding their sex. It is also illegal to request sexual favors or make comments of a sexual nature.
The victim could be a man or a woman as can be the harasser. What makes harassment different from light hearted teasing is that is occurs consistently and is offensive to the victim. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 classifies sexual harassment as a type of employee discrimination. Any company or government agency with fifteen or more employees is responsible for enforcing this law as well as preventing discrimination from happening in the workplace.
How Much Can You Get for A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
If you’ve been a sexual harassment victim in the workplace, then you may be permitted to receive compensation. You can have a sexual harassment claim if you have been exposed to unwanted sexual advances, actions or comments of sexual nature, as well as offensive comments regarding your gender or sex at work.
If you’re successful in the sexual harassment lawsuit, the amount you can receive in monetary compensation (known as damages) varies according to what sort of injury you have sustained as a result of the sexual harassment. A few types of damages, such as front pay and back pay, are intended to repay you for income you lost due to being sexually harassed.
And other types of damages are meant to repay you for the mental or emotional upset owing to the harassment (known as pain and suffering) or to penalize your employer for being unable to prevent the harassment (known as punitive damages).
If you are a victim of such terrible deed, there are actions (formal and informal) you can do assuage the problem. Sexual Harassment: Actions You Can Take by FindLaw has the details. Here are a few thing you can do:
Follow Your Employer’s Procedure
What if the offensive conduct doesn’t stop, or the harasser tells you he or she doesn’t care what you say? Some companies have a detailed procedure for handling sexual harassment claims. If your company has such a procedure, you should follow it to the letter, taking note of any time limits set out in that policy. For example, many employer policies will designate someone to whom harassment must be reported, so if your company has designated certain staff as being responsible for receiving sexual harassment complaints, that is where you should start.
If the appropriate governmental agency issues a “right to sue” letter, you may bring a civil lawsuit for any injuries you suffered due to the sexual harassment. You do not need to show physical injuries. The most common injuries in a sexual harassment case are the emotional injuries suffered by the victim.
If you’re successful in the sexual harassment claim you filed, the amount of money you can receive in monetary compensation varies according to what sort of injury you have suffered due to the sexual harassment. How Much Can I Get for My Sexual Harassment Lawsuit? By Nolo has the info.
If you were denied a raise, refused a promotion, or fired as a result of sexual harassment, you may be entitled to back pay. Back pay is the wages, benefits, and other compensation you would have earned from the time of the negative employment decision up to the date of a jury award (called a “judgment”).
Under federal law, if you lost your job or had to quit because of sexual harassment, you may have the right to return you to your former position (this is called “reinstatement”). However, often times reinstatement is impossible or impractical. For example, the position may not be available anymore, or your working relationship with your former employer may have become too hostile for you to return. If this is the case, you may be eligible for an award of front pay instead of reinstatement.
If you were refused a promotion, denied an income raise, or fired due to sexual harassment, then you may be eligible for a back pay. By definition, back pay is the income, benefits, as well as other compensation you would’ve received from the time of the decision of the negative employment up to the judgment. Back pay takes in:
- salary, including any income raises you should’ve received
- tips, commissions, or bonuses
- the value of benefits, like life insurance or health insurance
- sick or vacation pay
- pension or retirement benefits, and
- profit sharing or stock options.
Under the federal law, if you needed to quit or lost your job due to sexual harassment, then you may be entitled to return to your previous position (reinstatement). On the other hand, frequently reinstatement is impractical or impossible.
For instance, the position isn’t available any longer, or your work relationship with your previous employer can become too unfriendly for you to come back. If this is the situation, then you may be qualified for a front pay award rather than reinstatement. Front pay is meant to repay you for any lost wages you’re likely to sustain from the judgment date to the future.
To decide how far into your future you will get front pay, the court will consider the following:
- your age
- the period it may take you to locate the same job with another employer
- the period you were at your former job, and
- the period in which other employees in the same positions work.
Punitive and Compensatory Damages
Regardless of whether or not you have lost wages, you could be entitled to receive punitive damages or compensatory damages. Compensatory damages take in payment for your emotional pain, any damage to your repute, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the sexual harassment, like medical charges and costs for job search.
Also, the court may award punitive damages to penalize the employer for bad behaviour. Such damages are offered if your employer knew of the harassment but did not take steps to fix the situation. In general, this indicates that human resources or somebody in the upper administration knew of the event yet failed to take measures about it, even with knowing that sexual harassment is illegal under the law.