Any form of sex-based discrimination is illegal in South Dakota, as in all other American states. This type of discrimination was first prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The principle was upheld and expanded upon in the South Dakota Human Relations Act. While things are pretty clear to lawmakers and members of the legal profession, in many cases it turns out that those who were supposed to benefit from these laws, namely the employees, have only a vague notion of their rights. If you’re dealing with sexual harassment in your workplace and don’t know what to do, you should contact an experienced lawyer.
One of the problems affecting victims of sexual harassment is the feeling of loneliness or powerlessness, and this can be a paralyzing feeling. With the help of highly-trained sexual harassment lawyers you can overcome your fears. First of all, because they will listen to you with an open mind. You need to expect to be asked many questions as an attorney must understand what type of situation you’re dealing with.
The law defines two types of sexual harassment. First, you have the so-called quid pro quo cases. This refers to an employee being pressured into having sex with a supervisor, a business owner or anyone in a senior position within the company. If they suggest compliance will earn you a nice pay raise or promotion, that’s a clear quid pro quo. The same goes for employees threatened with termination if they don’t comply.
You’ll need well-versed employment lawyers to prove such a case, as, in general, this kind of requests are made in private. Few guys are as brazen as to ask for sexual favors when there are witnesses around. Your best option is to talk to other employees who might have been in a similar situation. They can corroborate your story and they needn’t worry about the consequences. Retaliating against an employee who makes or supports a sexual harassment claim is against the law, and it might cost your employer quite a lot.
The second type of sexual harassment is known as hostile work environment. South Dakota sexual harassment lawyers have heard many terrible stories of this kind of abuse.
This type of harassment is more common in male-dominated workplaces. A woman may be signaled out and bombarded with sexual comments or jokes, asked very intimate questions, or physically abused. Basically any type of unwanted touching can be seen as harassing. Someone pinning you against the wall, grabbing your buttocks or trying to kiss you, that’s clear sexual harassment. You will have to write down all the incidents, describe what happened in detail, and, again, look for witnesses willing to give testimony.
In most cases, your attorney will advise you to talk to your employer and see if they’re willing to take any action. If they’re not, the next step is to complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They will look into the case and if your story checks out, they can award you damages, without having to go to court.