Nationwide Sexual Harassment Attorneys | Barrett & Farahany

Helping employees find justice in eleven states with offices in Illinois, Georgia, and Alabama.

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is, unfortunately, alive and well in a number of industries. Recently, the spotlight has been on the mistreatment and discrimination of women in the workplace. It seems as though it is not at all uncommon to hear of another high-profile case or large toxic environment coming into the spotlight. More and more have needed help from sexual harassment attorneys to get justice when the law doesn’t punish employers.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of discrimination that results when a person or group of people behaves inappropriately in a sexual manner. This is done by making sexual remarks, crude jokes, or unwanted sexual advances to another person. The situation can become even more troubling when an employer or a person in a position of power initiates sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment

If you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, ensure that your interests are protected and consult with a sexual harassment attorney at Barrett & Farahany.

“If you need an employment attorney, this should be your first call. Barrett & Farahany is a first-class law firm with extraordinarily engaged, bright, passionate attorneys. Amanda Farahany is a world-class lawyer and leader. If you need an employment attorney, this should be your first call.”

Betsy K.

Contact Barrett & Farahany online or call 334-237-7773 to request a complimentary consultation with a sexual harassment lawyer and speak with an attorney today.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical, or both. Although the law generally does not prohibit horseplay or mild flirtation, it cannot be of a sexually offensive nature. If it is, it can be the basis of a good-faith complaint to an employer that is legally protected from retaliation.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment
Identifying Sexual Harassment at the Workplace

Identifying Sexual Harassment at the Workplace

The signs of sexual harassment can seem obvious. However, there are a number of subtleties that may be hard to identify at first. You will certainly want to discuss your options with experienced sexual harassment lawyers if you believe you have been harassed in the workplace.

Types of Sexual Harassment

There are primarily two forms of sexual harassment:

Quid Pro Quo:

This type of harassment usually involves a person in power propositioning an employee. They may be asking or implying that they would like “this for that,” meaning sexual favors for some form of advancement, be it salary increases, promotions, or other benefits. Quid pro quo doesn’t always mean a person in power is looking to provide perks for sexual favors. They may also threaten to fire an employee if they do not submit to their demands.

Hostile Work Environment

This is created by a person or group of people by their poor conduct towards another person or group of people in the workplace. This form of harassment can have a negative impact on a person’s well-being, in addition to their ability to perform the duties of their job. This may include crude jokes, rude comments, asking someone out on a date repeatedly, or groping a person.

Common Signs of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace:

  • You are asked to talk about your sexual experiences. This does not include reporting misconduct or worse to your employer.
  • You are shown inappropriate videos or photos, especially those that include sexual content.
  • If a person makes a comment on your appearance that is inappropriate.
  • Someone discusses their own sexual encounters unprompted and without your or another’s consent.

Do I Have an Actionable Sexual Harassment Claim?

Generally, to be actionable, courts have established five elements of a sexual harassment claim.

The Harassment Must be Severe or Pervasive.

While not all physical touching is considered “severe,” severe sexual harassment frequently involves physical touching. If sexual assault or rape is involved, even a single occurrence should meet the “severe” standard.

While certain forms of sexual harassment may not meet the “severe standard,” less severe harassment may still meet the “pervasive” standard if it occurs frequently enough. This is the case even if there is only verbal harassment with no touching at all. While harassment may be both severe and pervasive, the law only requires that one of these elements must be present for a successful sexual harassment claim.

The Harassment Must Be Unwelcome.

Though there are exceptions, a fully consensual and welcome relationship with someone at work is not necessarily considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may come into play, however, if one person seeks to end a consensual relationship and the other person continues to pursue them sexually or takes a negative employment action against them.

The Harassment Must Create a Hostile or Abusive Workplace

To be illegal, a hostile work environment must be connected to a protected characteristic that has been targeted. Someone’s sex would be the protected characteristic in the case of sexual harassment. Courts typically apply a “reasonable person” standard to judge whether a workplace is illegally hostile.

The Harassment Must be Because of the Victim’s Sex.

This isn’t a particularly difficult element to establish in a sexual harassment claim. Sexual harassment may be about attraction or power, but it is nearly always an abuse that is based on the sex of the victim.

The Harassment Must be Such that the Employer Can be Held Liable.

This element of a sexual harassment claim depends on a number of factors. This includes:

  • How much power or influence the harasser had over the victim. 
  • Whether the employer knew or should have known about the harassment.
  • Whether the employer exercised reasonable care to address and stop the harassment.

Proving Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Our sexual harassment lawyers can help you gather the necessary information you need to prove you experienced sexual abuse in the workplace.

This Type of Information May Help Strengthen Your Case:

  • Documentation or proof that you complained of the problem to the human resources department.
  • Any notes, text messages, or emails from the person harassing you.
  • A list of people who may have witnessed the harassment.
  • Proof that you informed the person harassing you that you wanted them to stop or found their behavior inappropriate.
  • A written record of your own account of the harassment. This will help when you need to reference it later.
  • Any proof of retaliation, such as negative employee evaluations, being excluded from meetings, etc.
  • Proof that the company was aware of the harassment and did not take action.
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Call our Sexual Harassment Attorneys at (334) 237-7773

By having an understanding of sexual harassment, and educating yourself about the subtleties, you can help prevent it in the workplace. It can be easy to fool yourself into thinking that your boss didn’t actually proposition you or a co-worker didn’t say something inappropriate. This is largely because it can feel surreal to experience sexual harassment. Most victims initially are in shock or disbelief that someone they work with has behaved inappropriately.

We are well-versed in representing people who have experienced sexual harassment. With more than 20 years of legal experience, our sexual harassment lawyers in Alabama, Georgia, and Illinois will work diligently in gathering all the necessary evidence and build a strong case against your employer.

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Barrett & Farahany

Georgia Office

3344 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30326

Alabama Office

2 20th St N, Suite 900,
Birmingham, AL 35203

Illinois Office

77 W. Wacker Dr. Suite 4500
Chicago, IL 60601


Existing Clients: 866-989-0120