It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or man, LGBTQA or straight, or an hourly worker or highly-compensated C-suite executive. Every employee at any level in any industry has the right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination.
News headlines and social media posts have confirmed what most of us have known or suspected for years – sex-based discrimination and harassment are rampant, yet victims are reluctant to come forward to report unlawful behavior for fear of losing their jobs, incomes, and careers.
With a mix of compassion, sensitivity, and aggressive representation, we help clients pull the curtain back on sexual misconduct in the workplace and obtain compensation for the financial, mental, and sometimes physical injury they’ve suffered.
Fighting for Your Rights in the Workplace
From our offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., our employment lawyers have litigated sexual harassment actions across the U.S. involving allegations such as:
- Sexual assault
- Unlawful touching
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Sexist words, language, or behavior
- Sexual coercion or intimidation
- Threats and undue attention
- Offensive slurs, jokes, objects, or pictures
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
- Hostile work environment
- Retaliation and wrongful termination
Damages in these cases can include compensation for:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost employment opportunity
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Injury to reputation
Depending upon the victim’s position in the employer’s organization, the damages can be extensive, making the need to retain experienced counsel even more critical.
What You Don’t Know Can Cost You
While most workplace sexual harassment episodes involve supervisors or co-workers, the law also prohibits harassment by clients, customers, and others that do business with the employer. If the employer knows or should know about a third party’s inappropriate sexual conduct or behavior and ignores it, the employer can be held liable. Also, you need not have been terminated, disciplined, demoted, or treated adversely to pursue a sexual harassment claim – you only need to show the harassment unreasonably interfered with your ability to do your job, or that it created a hostile work environment.
The prevalence of mandatory arbitration clauses can also frustrate victims’ attempts to seek compensation for sexual harassment. Blocked from pursuing their rights in a court of law, employees are instead forced into unfavorable arbitration proceedings where the details and outcomes of the claim are kept secret under non-disclosure requirements.
Gretchen Carlson faced this same situation when she accused Roger Ailes – the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Fox – of sexual harassment. Although any claim under her employment contact with the company would have been subject to confidential arbitration, her suit claimed that Mr. Ailes unlawfully retaliated against her and damaged her career after she refused his sexual advances and complained about the harassment.
In addition to executive employment agreements, arbitration clauses are found in form contracts, employee handbooks, and hiring materials that apply to entry-level workers on up the ladder, meaning that every employee should seek counsel from an experienced lawyer.
Outten & Golden – Attorneys for Workplace Rights
Not just a “woman’s problem,” sexual harassment impacts male employees, too, and perpetrators can be of the opposite or same sex. Thanks to the courageous voices from the #MeToo movement and elsewhere, victims no longer have to hide in the shadows fearing retaliation, intimidation, shaming, or other kinds of mistreatment that only increase their pain. Quitting your job shouldn’t be your only choice, and it could end up hurting your claim.
The attorneys in Outten & Golden’s sexual harassment and sex discrimination practice group have been fighting for employees’ rights to sexual-harassment free workplaces for decades. We have represented and counseled hundreds of individuals who must consider their options when faced with a sexually hostile work environment. We have a record of accomplishment and offer knowledgeable advice and guidance to hold the harasser and the employer accountable.
(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)