Despite representing the will of the people, public offices can and do become lawless environments on occasion. In 2018, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was forced to step down from the top position in the state because of troubling accusations. Among other things, he was accused of photographing a woman nude without her knowledge. He then allegedly used the photograph as blackmail, forcing her into keeping an extramarital affair secret.
The woman in question was able to bring her story to the public forefront, forcing Governor Greitens to leave Jefferson City’s capitol building. Greitens has since announced his intentions to run again for public office, but the scandal is badly hurting his chances of reelection.
If you were the victim of sexual harassment from someone serving in public office, get in touch with an experienced Missouri-based sexual harassment lawyer. Public servants are not exempt from the law and you may be entitled to compensation.
Does Missouri have laws on sexual harassment?
The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sex. It applies to all employers in both the public and private sectors with 6 or more employees. Under the MHRA, sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination.
Additionally, Missouri is subject to federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains statutes that prohibit employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. This act applies to all employers, both public and private, with 15 or more employees.
In order to invoke Title VII, one must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of their last experience of sexual harassment. This can be a confusing or slow process, but an experienced lawyer in the field can make it much easier. Though the EEOC allows for 300 days, it’s advisable to file a claim as soon as possible to give credibility to your story.
What qualifies as sexual harassment?
According to the EEOC, sexual harassment can be defined as:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical
conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or
condition of an individual’s employment, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis
for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an
individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or
offensive working environment.”
If those terms are confusing, you can think of sexual harassment as either “quid pro quo,” or “hostile work environment.” The former is when a superior in an organization tries to bribe someone with a promotion or pay raise in exchange for sexual favors, while the latter is misconduct like unwanted touching, rude comments, stalking, or sexual assault.
Do you need legal assistance with a sexual harassment lawsuit?
Connect with seasoned Missouri sexual harassment attorneys today to see what your options are.