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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

female facing harassment at workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue that negatively impacts individuals' well-being and professional growth. Our Chicago sexual harassment attorneys at Atlas Consumer Law aim to increase awareness about sexual harassment, including its definition, legal recourse, reporting procedures, and various types. By understanding these aspects, employees can better navigate and address instances of sexual harassment in their work environments.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment entails unwelcome behaviors of a sexual nature that create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating workplace environment. It can include:

  1. Verbal Harassment - Inappropriate comments or jokes
  2. Non-Verbal Harassment - Lewd gestures or displays
  3. Physical Harassment - Unwanted touching or contact
  4. Visual Harassment - Exposure to explicit images
  5. Cyber Harassment - sending explicit messages or engaging in online stalking.

How Long Does an Employee Have to File a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

The time limits for filing a sexual harassment complaint vary based on jurisdiction and applicable laws. Employees should familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their region, as deadlines for reporting incidents to authorities or filing complaints with employers typically range from 180 days to several years.

What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when someone in a position of power demands sexual favors in exchange for employment-related benefits or threatens adverse consequences for rejecting advances. This form of harassment involves explicit or implicit conditions for continued employment, promotions, raises, or other favorable treatment. Quid pro quo harassment is strictly prohibited by law and should be reported promptly.

How to Report Sexual Harassment?

Taking prompt action is crucial if one experiences or witnesses sexual harassment. Reporting procedures may vary, but general guidelines include documenting incidents (dates, times, individuals involved), following internal procedures outlined in employee handbooks or consulting HR departments, reporting to appropriate authorities (government agencies, labor boards, or legal entities if necessary), and seeking legal advice if the harassment persists or employer response is inadequate.

Types of Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment can take various forms, broadly categorized as:

  1. Hostile work environment: Involves unwelcome conduct that is severe, pervasive, or persistent, creating an intimidating or offensive atmosphere.
  2.  Quid pro quo harassment: Demands for sexual favors or tying employment decisions to engaging in sexual activities.
  3. Third-party harassment: Failure of employers to address or prevent sexual harassment by non-employees, making them liable for inaction.
  4. Online or cyber harassment: Unwanted sexual advances or explicit behavior conducted through digital platforms.

Recognizing and addressing sexual harassment is crucial for maintaining respectful and safe work environments. By understanding the definition, reporting procedures, and various types of sexual harassment, individuals can take appropriate steps to prevent and address these incidents, promoting a workplace culture of dignity and equality. 

Contact Our Chicago Sexual Harassment Attorney

Are you facing sexual harassment in your Chicago workplace? Stand up for your rights and pursue justice. Reach out to our skilled team of Chicago sexual harassment lawyers at Atlas Consumer Law for expert legal representation. Take the first step today by scheduling a consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Don't endure the pain in silence—allow us to fight on your behalf. Your voice is important, and we are here to guide you through the legal process and help you obtain the justice you rightfully deserve.