When your boyfriend compliments your new outfit, you take it with a smile. When your supervisor tells you that you look hot and makes a move to touch your buttocks, that’s sexual harassment. It’s usually a very awkward situation, but you need to make it clear that you do not appreciate this type of comments and they should stop saying things like that. If they don’t, you might want to seek advice from an experienced lawyer.
Montana employees are fully protected under the Human Rights Act which prohibits any form of discrimination based on sex in the workplace, including sexual harassment, pregnancy or childbirth.
Unfortunately, employers in the state are not mandated by law to have an anti-discrimination in place, although training in combating sexual harassment is highly recommended. Also, many businesses do not have a clear procedure employees should follow when they want to report a sexual harassment case. What can you do in such a situation?
Montana sexual harassment lawyers often advise their clients to try to talk to their employer or at least someone from the HR. To make it official, make a written complaint. Some find it embarrassing to talk about the treatment they were subjected to, but if you want to make it stop you need to speak out. Employers are required to look into your grievances and take steps to discipline those responsible. When they receive a written complaint and hear that you’ve already contacted employment lawyers, most managers will do something to address the issue. They don’t want to be dragged in a sexual harassment scandal, It’s bad for business and they risk having to pay significant damages.
At least that’s how the smart people react. In case your employer ignores your complaint and the sexual harassment continues, you’ll need to take your fight higher up. Sexual harassment lawyers usually recommend filing a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Commission. Your complaint has a good chance of being heard sooner than when you take your case to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
To maximize your chances, you should seek legal advice on how to formulate your complaint. If it’s a quid pro quo case, you’ll have to describe the sexual advances made by your supervisor or employer. If they solicited sexual favors from you, you should also say what were the threats or promises that accompanied their request. Did they imply you might lose your job if you don’t consent? Did they suggest you might get a pay raise if you played nice?
If you were harassed by one or more of your coworkers, do your best to describe specific incidents, and write down what they said or how they behaved in your presence. You should also mention who witnessed the incident as they might have to be called to testify about the incidents.
Often enough, the mediation of a state or federal agency can be enough to settle the dispute, and they will probably award you damages. If this doesn’t happen, your attorneys will take the matter to court.