If you live in North Dakota, you must have heard of Luke Simons, the lawmaker who was expelled from the House after he was accused of sexual harassment by several staffers and colleagues. This unprecedented decision offers a glimmer of hope for all the victims of sexual harassment in this state. If an important politician can be held accountable for his inappropriate behavior, anyone can. However, if you want justice, you need to do something about that, like talk to a lawyer.
Many victims put up with harassment simply because they’re afraid of the consequences of speaking out and because they don’t know their rights. The fact is you have the right to a safe workplace, free from any kind of discrimination. It’s all written in the law, namely the North Dakota Human Rights Act which prohibits any type of sex-based discrimination, and that also covers sexual harassment. The law also forbids the employer to take retaliatory measures against an employee making sexual harassment accusations.
When you talk to skilled North Dakota sexual harassment lawyers, they’ll look at all the facts and decide if you do have a case. It’s not that they don’t believe you, but they want to make sure you have enough evidence to make a convincing case. And they can help you get more evidence if need be!
Your rights are protected under the law, but you need to follow the procedure if you want to win your case. It all starts with the way you react to the sexual harassment. Bowing your head or pretending you didn’t hear is not a good attitude. Your harasser can always claim they didn’t know they were out of line. Well-versed employment lawyers will tell you that you need to object to the sexual comments, jokes, inappropriate touching, etc, and make it clear this type of conduct is offensive to you.
If they don’t stop, your next step is to talk to your employer and file a complaint with the Human Resources department. The law requires them to investigate any such complaints and take steps to correct the situation. If they don’t, they can be held accountable and they’ll probably have to pay for that.
If your complaints were ignored, your chosen sexual harassment lawyers will help you take the matter to state or even federal level. You can make a formal complaint with the North Dakota Human Rights Commission or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These agencies will conduct their own investigation and they can mediate between you and your employer. If your employer refuses to collaborate with the investigation or a settlement cannot be reached, you have the right to take the matter to court. An experienced lawyer can help you win fair compensation for all they put you through. You can receive damages for lost wages, as well as for the mental suffering you experienced. And, your employer will also have to cover your legal fees!