Employees have the right to feel safe and comfortable in their workplace, which should be a harassment-free environment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment and assault continue to be a common threat for many employees. In fact, more than 25,600 sexual harassment claims were settled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2017.

It is illegal to discriminate against an employee or applicant on the basis of his or her sex. The effects of sexual harassment can be severe and may cause the victim to suffer short and long-term psychological consequences. If you or someone you love has been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, contact Rizk Law as soon as possible. We will schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your sexual harassment claim and help you determine which legal options may be available to hold the at-fault party liable. Our Hillsboro labor & employment lawyers have extensive knowledge of state and federal sexual harassment laws and procedures. We are dedicated to defending the rights of harassment victims and will help you pursue justice for your claim.

Contact us to find out if you have a case.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is characterized as behavior that includes making unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and inappropriate sexual remarks in the workplace, professional settings, or in social situations.

According to the EEOC, sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. This may include:

  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcomed by the victim.
  • Inappropriate physical or verbal interactions between a man and a woman. However, the victim does not have to be the opposite sex as the perpetrator.
  • The harasser may be the victim’s supervisor, agent of the victim’s employer, a supervisor in another area of the victim’s workplace, co-worker or non-employee.
  • The victim may not be the person being harassed, but someone who is affected by the harasser’s comments or actions.
  • The victim may not have to suffer economic damages, such as or discharge from his or her employment due to the harasser’s unwanted remarks or advances.

Additionally, sexual harassment may include other verbal or physical contacts of sexual nature when:

  • The victim is forcibly subjected to harassment that is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of his or her employment.
  • The submission or rejection of harassment by the victim is used as a basis for decisions affecting the victim’s employment, pay or well-being.
  • The victim was subjected to harassment with the threat that not complying may interfere or negatively impact his or her work performance.
  • The victim is subjected to harassment that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

If you believe that you have been subjected to inappropriate or hostile behavior that can be considered sexual harassment, contact Rizk Law as soon as possible. Our Hillsboro labor and employment lawyers will investigate the at-fault party’s “unwelcomed behavior” to determine if he or she can be held liable for his or her damaging comments or actions.

One of the most effective ways to end harassment is to take action against the harasser. Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace should not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free and confidential consultation. We will help you pursue the justice you deserve.

Call 503.342.0783 if you have been subjected to workplace harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment or Assault

Typically, there are two types of sexual harassment that occur in a professional environment:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment usually occurs when an employment decision is based on the employee’s acceptance or rejection of requests for sexual favors or unwelcomed sexual advances. This form of sexual harassment is typically initiated by someone who can affect formal employment decisions, such as rejection of promotion, increase in pay, demotion, or termination of employment.

Some common examples of quid pro quo harassment include:

  • A supervisor fires, demotes or denies an increase in pay or promotion to a subordinate because he or she refused to cooperate sexually.
  • A supervisor requires a subordinate to participate in sexually or morally compromising activities as a condition of his or her employment.
  • A supervisor offers preferential treatment, a promotion or increase in pay to a subordinate if he or she is sexually cooperative.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

A hostile work environment can occur when an employee receives unwelcomed sexual advances or requests from his or her employer, supervisor, coworker or anyone else that he or she interacts with on the job.

Unwelcomed sexual conduct can create a hostile working environment when it results in the workplace atmosphere becoming intimidating, offensive or antagonistic. Some examples of behavior that may be contribute to a hostile environment include:

  • Describing sexual activities
  • Unnecessary or inappropriate touching
  • Using indecent gestures
  • Using crude language
  • Commenting on the physical attributes, including clothing and appearances
  • Sabotaging the victim’s work
  • Engaging in hostile physical conduct
  • Telling offensive or crude jokes concerning sex, race, or disability
  • Exhibiting sexually evocative or insensitive pictures
  • Using demeaning, crude or inappropriate terms or epithets

Regardless of the type of behavior or advances victims may have encountered, sexual harassment is a serious offense that can cause victims to suffer emotional distress and psychological harm. As dedicated labor and employment lawyers in Hillsboro, we will not hesitate to hold any harasser liable for his or her harmful conduct. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact Rizk Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.

When Sexual Harassment is Illegal

When determining liability in a sexual harassment claim, the inappropriate behavior the victim was subjected to must be considered “unwelcomed” and based on the victim’s protective status. Furthermore, the behavior must be:

  • Subjectively abusive to the person affected; and
  • Objectively severe and pervasive enough to create an environment that a reasonable person would find abusive or hostile.

When a Hillsboro labor and employment attorney investigates your claim, he or she will review the harasser’s conduct to find if it is severe or pervasive. This may be determined by examining the following factors:

  • The frequency of the unwelcome or discriminatory conduct
  • The severity of the harasser’s conduct
  • The harasser’s conduct was physically threatening, humiliating or offensive
  • The harasser’s behavior interfered with the victim’s work performance
  • The effect the harasser’s conduct had on his or her well-being
  • The harasser was the victim’s superior or had considerable weight in the victim’s employer or organization

Once every factor is closely considered, a Hillsboro labor and employment attorney will be able to decide if the harasser’s actions created a hostile working environment. A Hillsboro labor and employment attorney will need to carefully consider whether the at-fault party’s comments or actions crossed a line from offensive behavior in the workplace, such as teasing or sporadic use of abusive language, to unlawful harassment.

To find out if you have a claim, contact Rizk law today. We do not charge upfront legal fees and only charge our clients if we recover compensation for them.

Call 503.342.0783. There is no risk to find out if you have a case.

How to Report Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, sexual harassment can be difficult to recognize and often goes undocumented due to an employee’s fear of reprisal from the harasser. For this reason, it is important that victims of harassment, or those who know about someone being harassed, report sexual harassment as soon as possible.

If you believe you are being sexually harassed, consider taking the following steps:

  • Check with your employer to see if the company has an anti-harassment policy. This may be found in your company’s employee handbook. Likewise, you may consider speaking with your supervisor or company’s Human Resources department to determine if there is an anti-harassment policy.
  • If your company does have an anti-harassment policy, carefully follow each step in the policy. It should state various ways you can report the harassment internally, including the option of filing a formal complaint against the harasser.
  • If your company does not have an anti-harassment policy, consider talking with a supervisor. You may talk to your own supervisor, the supervisor of the person harassing you, or any supervisor in your company or organization. Carefully describe the events that have occurred and any unwelcomed behavior you have experienced. Likewise, you can also ask the person’s help in stopping the harassment from continuing.
  • There are several laws that protect your from retaliation, or punishment, for complaining or reporting sexual harassment. These laws provide you the right to report the harassment, participate in a harassment investigation or lawsuit, or oppose the harassment without fear of retaliation.
  • If these options fail, you have the right to file a complaint with the EEOC to report the harassment.

Typically, you have between 180 and 300 days to file a complaint with the EEOC, depending on where you live. For this reason, you should contact the EEOC as soon as possible. Then, consider contacting a Hillsboro labor and employment lawyer to discuss whether the at-fault party or your employer can be held liable for the damages you suffered due to the harasser’s unwelcomed behavior.

Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now to get started.

Can an Employer Be Held Liable for Sexual Harassment?

In Oregon, an employer is automatically liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor when the victim is subjected to any form of “tangible employment action” after the harassment. This may include changes in the employee’s work assignments, schedule or working hours, rate in pay, failure to promote or termination of employment, according to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

Furthermore, employers can still be held liable even if the employee was not threatened with a type of tangible employment action. Employers are required to create a safe and productive environment for their employees. If sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, employers must take steps to correct any unwelcomed behavior they know about. This includes unwanted comments or advances made by the victim’s supervisor or coworkers.

Likewise, employers are liable for sexual harassment or discrimination committed by non-employees, such as customers to a store or restaurant, if the employer knew about it and failed to adequately address the situation. In this situation, Oregon’s Civil Rights Division will investigate the level of control your employer had over the situation and the non-employee’s actions to determine if the employer is liable for harassment. For example, if the harasser is a third-party maintenance worker hired by your employer, the employer may have been able to request another individual perform the task or hire an alternate company.

If you believe your employer has failed to take steps to prevent harassment from occurring in the workplace, contact a trusted labor and employment attorney in Hillsboro to discuss filing a claim. He or she will be able to determine the level of control your employer has over the situation and whether the situation could have been avoided by taking proper steps to stop the harassment or remove the harasser.

Call 503.342.0783 to discuss your claim with Rizk Law’s attorneys.

Contact Rizk Law’s Labor and Employment Lawyers

Victims of sexual harassment have the right to hold their harassers liable for the damages they suffered. Rizk Law’s reputable labor and employment lawyers in Hillsboro understand the difficulties victims of harassment endure. Whether it may be fear of retaliation from their harasser or they are unsure if the at-fault party’s actions may be considered harassment, victims should always report unwelcomed behavior in the workplace.

To find out which legal options may be available to you, schedule a free, no obligation review of your claim today. Our free consultation is confidential, and we provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge upfront fees for representing you and only require payment if we recover compensation on your behalf. There is no risk in speaking with our Hillsboro labor and employment lawyers about your claim.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now.