As many as 70% of sexual harassment cases go unreported because the victims are too afraid or too embarrassed to speak out against their tormentors. In South Carolina, the law is very clear. Sexual harassment is illegal, as it falls under sexual discrimination, prohibited under the South Carolina Human Affairs Law. If you’re subjected to any type of sexual harassment in the workplace all you need to do is look up a good lawyer and have them help you put an end to the nightmare. Under the law, in a sexual harassment case the harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex, and the victims aren’t necessarily women. Men can also be sexually harassed, either by a woman or another man.
First of all, what is sexual harassment in the workplace? According to the law, your rights are protected from the moment you go to a job interview. If the employer suggests the job is yours if you sleep with them, that’s blatant sexual harassment in the workplace and you don’t even work there.
Sexual harassment lawyers can also help you if you’re a victim of a hostile work environment. This refers to receiving unwanted sexual overtures or being subjected to lewd remarks, sexually-suggestive jokes or indecent messages of any type. To have a strong case you’ll have to prove those incidents were of a pervasive nature, and severe enough to represent more than a simple annoyance. If someone at work compliments your new dress, that’s not sexual harassment. However, if that someone says your new dress makes you look hot and adds any form of sexually-charged noise or gesture, that is sexual harassment.
Experienced employment lawyers will explain how you need to behave in such instances if you want to have a solid case. You need to object to unwanted attention and make it clear such behavior is offensive to you. When confronted about their behavior many harassers say they were just joking and had no idea you took offense. At the same time, you should inform your employer about the problems you’ve had with unwanted sexual overtures. You should talk to your boss even if those making you uncomfortable are not coworkers, but people you come in contact with by nature of your job. This category includes customers, independent contractors or suppliers, whom you interact with on a regular basis. Your employer is responsible for your safety and well-being while you’re on the job, so they need to take action.
South Carolina sexual harassment lawyers will also help you file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You need legal advice when you formulate such a complaint if you want it to be convincing. The EEOC will look into the matter and if they agree it’s a case of sexual harassment, they’ll try to negotiate a settlement. Many employers agree to such a settlement to avoid the scandal caused by a public trial. You can ask for economic damages, such as lost wages, and non-economic damages for your emotional suffering.