If you live in Wisconsin and have ever had to deal with sexual harassment, you’ve probably been following the scandal around the Eau Claire County District Attorney, Gary King. The story is somewhat disturbing as you wouldn’t expect a DA to be accused of sexual harassment. Such people are supposed to uphold the law and prosecute those who break the law, not be one of them. On the other hand, the story is also encouraging to the countless victims of sexual harassment out there. If a DA can be held accountable, so can your employer. All you need to do is talk to a lawyer. This is exactly what the woman accusing King of inappropriate behavior did.
As you probably know, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits any type of discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation. The Act applies to all public or private employers, irrespective of the number of employees they have.
The way King behaved amounts to a hostile work environment. He seemed to be quite infatuated with the woman, and kept saying he loved her and that they’ll end up together. Even if he did have feelings for her, which is doubtful, that’s still sexual harassment. You’d think that in the age of the powerful #MeToo movement, people would understand that N – O spells NO! Yet, the disgraced DA kept hitting on her, touching her in an inappropriate manner and even asking her to be part of a threesome.
When you talk to experienced sexual harassment lawyers, one of the first things they’ll ask is whether you complained to the HR. That’s the first step victims need to make. In this case, the HR department was very responsive and offered full assistance. This doesn’t always happen, especially in those companies where sexual harassment is not only tolerated, but also encouraged by the employer. Be that as it may, you’re still required to talk to the HR so the issue can be settled swiftly. And quietly. Scandals are bad for business.
Your employer is legally required to investigate your complaint and take disciplinary measures against those responsible for this type of unlawful behavior.
Seasoned employment lawyers know that in many cases nothing comes out of a complaint with the HR, but that’s OK. It only gives them more ammo, for a formal complaint with an institution that does take such things seriously.
Wisconsin sexual harassment lawyers will help you write a complaint to a state or federal agency. For instance, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has broad powers and can summon witnesses, review internal documents or examine security footage, as part of their investigation. In many cases, the two parties reach a settlement, as few employers want to be taken to court. Depending on the circumstances, you can expect to be compensated for all you’ve been through. You can receive non-economic damages for your emotional suffering, as well as economic damages, and recover the lost wages if you were fired or forced to quit.