In the movies, it is romantic when the shy boss asks the pretty intern to dinner, but in the real world, these incidents are uncomfortable and illegal. It is completely inappropriate for supervisors to use their influence in this way. If their conduct is egregious enough, damages may be available. The same thing applies if workers must endure repeated lewd remarks, sexual innuendo, and other such things while on the job.
Outrage over sexual harassment comes and goes. Sometimes it is quite intense, and at other times it seems that no one cares. At the Law Office of Mitchell Kline, we always fight for sexual harassment victims. We not only fight for fair compensation for your losses, but we also do not rest until your employer makes the changes that move it toward a harassment-free workplace. You have the right to go to work every day without fear of discrimination, and so do your co-workers.
Discrimination usually comes in many forms, and sexual harassment is usually no exception. Sometimes, supervisors and others are quite brazen in the way they behave toward co-workers and subordinates. Other times, sexual harassment is very subtle. There are two basic forms, and both are equally destructive:
In Illinois, many sexual harassment victims can either file complaints with the state Human Rights Commission or file claims in civil court. That latter procedure is outlined below.
Like most all employment discrimination matters, sexual harassment claims begin with a prima facie showing. The victim/plaintiff must establish that either a quid pro quo or a hostile environment existed at the workplace. Then, the employer can either refute the allegations altogether or offer a neutral explanation. For example, an employer could say that an employee received a poor job evaluation because she had attendance issues and not because she declined the supervisor’s request for a date.
The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish sexual harassment by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
For a Chicago employer to be liable for damages, the employer must normally know about the behavior and do little or nothing to stop it. In these cases, damages are available mainly in proportion to the conduct and the employer’s size. For example, if the company has between 101 and 200 workers, damages are capped at $200,000.
These damages include compensation for both economic losses, such as lost wages and non-economic losses, such as emotional distress.
In any form, workplace sexual harassment is wrong. For a free consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in employment discrimination cases.