Sexual Harassment ATTORNEYS
The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm have experience litigating cases on behalf of employees who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. Our lawyers routinely handle cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Recently in Sterling v. Atlantic Automotive Corporation, The Employment Law Group® law firm obtained a $1 million dollar verdict for an employee who experienced ongoing sexual harassment by her supervisor.
What laws Prohibit Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and is prohibited by Title VII, the D.C. Human Rights Act (DCHRA), and Article 49B of the Maryland Civil Code. Title VII, the federal law prohibiting sexual harassment applies only to labor organizations, companies, or employment agencies with more than 15 employees. The D.C. Human Rights Act however, applies to all employers regardless of size.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual's employment.
What must a plaintiff prove to prevail under Federal Law?
Under Title VII, there are two types of sexual harassment claims that can be made: tangible employment action and hostile work environment.
To prevail on a tangible employment action for sexual harassment, an employee must make a prima facie case that: (1) he/she was a member of a protected class; (2) he/she was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; (3) his/her refusal to submit to a supervisor's sexual demands affected his employment status; and (4) the harassing supervisor used his authority to subject the employee to adverse job consequences.
An employee alleging sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment must show: (1) he was subjected to unwelcome conduct; (2) the harassment was based on sex; and (3) the harassment was severe or pervasive, and created an abusive working environment.
What must a plaintiff prove to prevail under the D.C. Human Rights Act?
An employee claiming sexual harassment under the DCHRA must establish a prima facie case demonstrating that unwelcome verbal and/or physical sexual advances were directed at him or her in the workplace, resulting in an abusive or hostile working environment.
Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment is Prohibited
Section 704 (a) of Title VII and the DCHRA prohibit retaliation against employees who file sexual harassment complaints. Retaliatory actions include: termination, suspension, demotion, reduction in salary, and any act that might dissuade a reasonable person from reporting sexual harassment. Employees who feel as though they've suffered discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should consider contacting a lawyer to discuss the best course of action.
What can a prevailing plaintiff recover?
A prevailing plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and attorney fees. In addition, Title VII authorizes exemplary or punitive damages.
What should an employee facing disability discrimination do?
If you feel you've experienced sexual harassment or been retaliated against for reporting it, you should consider contacting an attorney to discuss your rights and how best to proceed. Our lawyers are licensed throughout the Capital region, including D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
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