‘I was just joking’. That’s basically the defense used by Pat Magee, head of the criminal division with the Louisiana Attorney General Office, who was recently accused of sexual harassment. That’s the most common excuse heard in sexual harassment cases, although not something one would expect from someone in such a position as Magee. What’s more disheartening for sexual harassment victims, the investigation in this case concluded that his behavior was indeed inappropriate, but did not amount to sexual harassment.
If you were subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, you need to talk to a good lawyer and see how you can use the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law to put an end to your daily suffering and win compensation for what you had to put up with. The law clearly prohibits employers with 20 or more employees working within the state from intentionally discriminating with respect to sex.
Experienced Louisiana sexual harassment lawyers will explain how you, too, can use this law and what are your legal options.
The first step is to complain to your employer about the sexual harassment you were subjected to. All Louisiana employers, public or private, are encouraged to have a strong anti-harassment policy and provide a complaint procedure for reporting inappropriate conduct. This may or may not be possible in your case.
There have been various cases when those engaging in harassing behavior were top management personnel or directly related to the business owner, in which case there’s no one you can complain to. Judges have been found to be most understanding in such circumstances. However, if there is a complaint procedure you can use don’t hesitate to do so. The employer needs to be offered a chance to address the situation before you can proceed with a formal complaint to state authorities or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
You will want knowledgeable employment lawyers assisting you in formulating your complaint to maximize your chances to win adequate compensation for your suffering. Your attorneys will help you establish a timeline of the events, and you’ll need to be able to cite a significant number of incidents to prove that you had to put up with a hostile work environment.
You need sexual harassment lawyers with many years of practice in the area as they might need to conduct their own investigation before you can file a complaint. For instance, your attorneys will want to talk to those of your coworkers who witnessed those distressing incidents. They should be able to testify that you were made uncomfortable by the sexual jokes and lewd comments of your harassers, you objected to them and made it clear such behavior was definitely not welcome. When a guy makes a bad joke, that can be excused, but when he persists with this conduct that’s a clear case of sexual harassment.
In many cases, mediation conducted by state authorities can be enough to settle the dispute, but when this is not possible your lawyers will take the matter to court.