Although Illinois is an at-will employment state, workers still have a number of legal rights, including the right to a harassment-free workplace. Unfortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the government watchdog charged with enforcing anti-harassment laws, only intervenes in some cases. Therefore, many Cook County employers believe they can bend or break the rules and not get caught.
These employers have not crossed swords with the aggressive Wilmette sexual harassment attorneys at the Law Office of Mitchell Kline. To us, nothing is more important than your rights. So, if there is evidence of unlawful harassment, we do more than obtain financial compensation for justice. We also take steps to ensure wayward companies change the way they do business and respect all their workers equally.
Of all the types of sexual harassment, the quid pro quo is perhaps the most insidious one. It is also one of the easiest kinds of harassment to prove in court.
Employers cannot condition any action upon any sexual favor. Some instances are blatant, such as an offer to discuss a promotion over lunch. Even if there is no promise of promotion, the message is clear, and so is the illegality. Other instances are more subtle, such as a statement like “You’d get a workstation closer to the door if your appearance was more feminine.”
Compensation in a quid pro quo sexual harassment case usually includes money for lost back pay along with immediate reinstatement or a reasonable amount of future compensation. Other damages for pain and suffering might be available, as well.
Course jokes, inappropriate remarks, and offensive computer wallpaper may seem inevitable in most Cook County workplaces. However, if such items make it difficult for people to do their jobs, the Wilmette sexual harassment attorneys at the Law Office of Mitchell Kline often step in.
Typically, victims must prove the environment forced them to seek outside redresses, such as an antidepressant or counseling relationship. Alternatively, victims could show that they avoided certain work areas due to their oppressive environments. Generally, plaintiffs must establish these facts by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That is the lowest standard of proof in Illinois law.
Retaliation is the most commonly-charged sexual harassment infraction on the EEOC’s docket, and it has nothing to do with harassment itself. Instead, these claims focus on the employer’s reaction to reporting a claim, serving as a witness in a claim, encouraging another employee to take action, or speaking out publicly against workplace harassment. Some common retaliatory actions include:
Generally, victims must only show a temporal relationship between the protected harassment activity and the retaliation (e.g., filing a complaint in June and demotion in July).
You have the right to a harassment-free workplace. For a free consultation with an experienced Wilmette sexual harassment attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.