Utah Sexual Harassment Lawyer
No matter the setting, you shouldn't be subjected to disgusting, inappropriate, or lewd advances. Whether it's at your place of employment, in your doctor's office, in a college classroom, on the internet, or anywhere else, sexual harassment is never acceptable. Despite this, it's all too prevalent. The following facts demonstrate this:
- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that 40 percent of women have experienced one or more sexually based behaviors in the workplace, including sexual coercion and unwanted sexual advances
- According to the EEOC, 74 percent of people who have experienced sexual harassment at work do not report it to a manager, supervisor, or union representative
- A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2021 states 33 percent of women under the age of 35 have reported being sexually harassed online
- A report cited by NPR states that 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment; 43 percent of men have experienced it
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment, call our sexual harassment lawyer in Utah at 801-535-4645, or fill out our contact form on this page, and we'll reach out to you to set up a confidential consultation.
What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is generally considered discrimination. It violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and may violate The Utah Antidiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment against any qualified persons based on sex, pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy-related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Utah Code § 34A-5-106.
Sexual harassment outlawed by Title VII and Utah Law includes:
- Quid pro quo harassment, which is a request by a supervisor for sexual favors or other sexual conduct as trade for a reward, such as a promotion or raise
- Hostile work environments where someone is repeatedly subjected to unwanted physical touch or verbal sexual misconduct that is so serious that it creates an abusive working environment
While some examples of sexual harassment are overtly inappropriate, like unwanted kissing and forced physical touch, some are more subtle and may be more difficult to categorize as harassment. These subtle forms of sexual harassment are incredibly common, and no matter how subtle, any form of harassment that makes someone feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or happens frequently enough is unacceptable. Sexual harassment may include:
- Repetitive compliments on appearance
- Comments regarding the attractiveness of others
- Discussion of sexual affairs
- Questions about one's sex life
- Passing nude or sexually revealing photos around
- Sexually suggestive emails or texts
- Unwanted gifts of an intimate nature
- Incessant unwanted touching, such as hugs
- Spreading or sharing sexual rumors about someone
- Lewd jokes of comments
- Sexual assault or sexual abuse
Note that the conduct in question must be offensive to a reasonable person in the same situation to be legally considered sexual harassment. For example, someone may be offended by a coworker complimenting their hair and opening the door for them, but the average person likely would not find this offensive. If you believe you have been sexually harassed, don't keep it quiet. You deserve to work in a safe, comfortable environment. Contact our sexual harassment lawyer in Utah today for a confidential consultation to better understand your legal options.
How to Protect Yourself
It can be intimidating to report sexual harassment at work. Many people are afraid of judgment and retaliation, so they stay silent and the harassment continues. Know that there are ways to protect yourself when reporting sexual harassment. Knowing this will not only help you stop a negative situation, it will also protect others from going through the same. It's also important to know that some employee policies and laws may require you to report potential sexual harassment.
The first step to protecting yourself amid harassment is to consult a sexual harassment attorney. An attorney can help you form a strategy and answer several questions that you may have, including:
- Does the conduct or event legally qualify as sexual harassment?
- How do I respond to sexual harassment?
- Should I report harassment?
- How can I protect myself against future harassment or retaliation?
- How can I prevent employer retaliation for reporting harassment?
Randy and his team at Andrus Law Firm will help you answer these questions, then help you devise an action plan, which may include:
- Identifying the proper person to whom you should report the incident(s)
- Help you outline your experience so that you can report it clearly, calmly, and in an organized fashion
- Documenting the harassment, as well as all subsequent discussions about it with your employer
- Observing your employer's reactions to your report to avoid potential retaliation
- Filing complaints, including an internal complaint with your employer and an external complaint with the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UALD) or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Being in a sexual harassment situation can be frustrating and emotionally overwhelming. It's your lawyer's job to be there for you and help you think more clearly and fully understand your next steps.
Retaliation After Workplace Harassment
Employer retaliation against those who report sexual harassment is prohibited by law. Types of retaliation may include disciplinary actions, termination, reduction in working hours, transfer of departments or accounts, exclusion from meetings, etc. Know that retaliation is a violation of the law, and is always unacceptable.
Employer Roles in Harassment Cases
The law requires employers to investigate reports of sexual harassment. During the investigation, supervisors cannot take actions that negatively impact your job. It's important to keep your workplace sexual harassment lawyer updated during the investigation to ensure your employer is not responding unlawfully.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive for Sexual Harassment?
- Economic Damages - These damages are monetary and include things like lost wages and other compensation, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, etc
- Non-Economic Damages - These damages include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. These damages are more difficult to calculate monetarily, but a sexual harassment lawyer can help you do so.
- Attorney Fees - By statute, a prevailing plaintiff may recover reasonable attorney fees and costs.
- Punitive Damages - While these are less common and may be capped, punitive damages allow a jury to award compensation to a plaintiff to “punish” the defendant for his or her actions.
The compensatory damages you'll receive for your sexual harassment claim are dependant on the facts of your case. A sexual harassment lawyer will help you evaluate your case to include compensation for all types of injuries sustained to you as a result of the incident.
When Is the Right Time to Consult a Sexual Harassment Lawyer?
If you believe you have been sexually harassed, the right time to call a lawyer is immediately. Having a lawyer on your side from the beginning can ensure you are taking the right steps to protect yourself when reporting harassment and have someone looking out for you during the entire investigation process. Additionally, your sexual harassment lawyer will walk you through the pros and cons of filing a charge of discrimination against your employer in the case that your employer's resolution is inadequate. He will also advise you on filing a lawsuit if you are considering further legal action.
Randy Andrus is a committed, trustworthy, and experienced sexual harassment attorney who will stand up for your rights. With 37 years of experience, he's ready to fight for you, and get you the justice you deserve. Harassment creates a frustrating and emotional situation, but you don't have to go through this alone. Randy and his team are waiting by the phone to help you take the action that you deserve to take. Contact us at 801-535-4645, or fill out our convenient online form, and we'll reach out to you to schedule a confidential consultation.