A Cincinnati-based company has agreed to pay $22,500 in damages to settle a federal sexual harassment suit. The suit stems from the charges brought by a former female employee at Total Maintenance Solutions who was subjected to sexual harassment during the time she worked them. According to her complaint, she had to endure sexual overtures, inappropriate comments and touching. After repeated complaints to the employer, she was fired, which left her with no alternative but to take the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you think you have a case of sexual harassment, you should see a lawyer right away. There’s no point in waiting. Or suffering.
Your rights are protected under the Ohio Civil Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but no one can help you if you don’t say anything.
The charges in the Cincinnati company case amount to the creation of a hostile work environment, one of the two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. This refers to sexually-suggestive comments, messages, jokes or visual displays around the office, as well as to unwanted touching.
When you talk to experienced sexual harassment lawyers, they’ll want to hear about the incidents, in detail. It is very important to establish if the conduct of your coworkers can be judged to be of a sexual nature. Obviously, when one or more of your colleagues pester you with questions about your sex life or make a move to grab your buttocks, that’s clearly sexual harassment. On the other hand, if a colleague compliments your earrings or your new haircut, that cannot be viewed as harassment.
You’ll want savvy employment lawyers to help you document all the evidence. Write down everything: date, place, who said or did what, and who else was present, as they might be called to testify. Don’t worry about that, employee who help someone in a sexual harassment case are protected against retaliation.
Another thing you need to know is that you cannot take the matter to court right away. There are other steps that need to come first. If you look at the Cincinnati story, the woman first complained to her employer, and that is what you should do. They are required by law to investigate your accusations and take disciplinary actions against those responsible.
There are also situations when a supervisor or business owner pressures an employee into sex. Those are called quid pro quo cases, and they represent sexual harassment. In such cases, complaining to the boss is not really an option, so whether or not you made an internal complaint or not will be less relevant when the case goes to trial.
If your employer does not react to your complaint, or they do by retaliating, your Ohio sexual harassment lawyers will help you file a complaint with the EEOC. They’ll also advise you on what sort of damages you should ask for. Depending on the situation, you can seek economic damages (for lost wages) and non-economic damages. The latter refer to your mental suffering, and include costs associated with therapy. And, of course, you’ll want your employer to cover your legal expenses, as well.