What to Expect When You File a Sexual Harassment Claim

These days, as people have become more aware of sexual harassment, victims become more willing to stand up and file charges against harassers than ever. Sexual harassment includes everything from sex-for-benefits and offensive words, unwanted flirting, and gestures. If you think you have been sexually harassed at work, you should contact a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Queens to know your legal rights and options. Your attorney will assist you when filing complaints or even represent you in court if you end up filing a lawsuit. 

Where Can You File a Sexual Harassment Claim?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most used for trying sexual harassment based on race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the law. Under federal law, sexual harassment cases must be filed against companies, not employees.

Employees who wish to file a sexual harassment claim against a company can do this through the EEOC as long as the company has at least 15 employees. If the company has a fewer number of workers, the employee can file a claim as a civil rights case in a city or other local jurisdiction with a civil rights statute. 

Kinds of Damages in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Damages refer to amounts paid the claimant gets if the case is settled in their favor. These payments can be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages are for calculated losses such as lost pay, lost benefits, and medical costs. An employee can be awarded back pay if they lost their job or were fired due to sexual harassment. Also, they can get front pay until they can come back to the workplace.

Punitive damages are damages that cannot be calculated. These are meant to punish the perpetrator. For instance, if the claimant can prove that a company knew about sexual harassment and did nothing to stop it, this could be intentional. Often, punitive damages are awarded based on the evidence presented in court. 

Settling a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Out of Court

Most sexual harassment cases are settled out of court, so parties can avoid the costs and the amount of time needed to settle in court. Also, this allows victims to avoid the public humiliation of being asked about their sexual history. Out-of-court settlements also favor companies that do not want the publicity of a public trial. Because a settlement is often a compromise, victims should not expect to claim the full amount they demand.