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Atlanta Sexual Harassment Attorney

Trusted COunsel on Sexual Harassment Law

Almost 50 years ago, the U.S. Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." The courts have interpreted this to cover not just discrimination, but also harassment.

If you are experiencing such harassment, talk to our Atlanta sexual harassment lawyers at Buckley Beal. We can get involved in your case from the moment you suspect you're being harassed. We can help you stop the harassment from getting out of control and put your employer on notice.

If we can get involved early enough, in many cases we can straighten out the situation without litigation, and keep you in your job. If the case cannot be settled, we are prepared to go to trial and fight for your rights. We have taken on and beaten some of the country's largest corporations in sexual harassment cases, obtaining millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

When harassment occurs in the workplace, you have options to stop it. Reachout to our law firm in Atlanta, GA at (404) 471-3725 today for assistance.

Defining Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is probably the most well-known form of sex discrimination. However, it is important to precisely define sexual harassment. It is not necessarily a single incident of name calling, a request for a date, or a leering look.

To prove sexual harassment, you must show that you were subjected to unwelcome conduct that created a hostile environment based on your sex. You must also prove this conduct was sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to alter the terms of your employment. The more severe the incident, the less pervasive it must be, and vice versa.

Sexually harassing conduct is defined by the EEOC as unwanted sexual advances or sexually suggestive conduct when:

  • It is either implied or stated that submission to this conduct is tied to an employment benefit
  • The employee rejecting this conduct affects future employment decisions affecting the employee
  • The harassment has the effect, whether intentional or not, of interfering with performance or otherwise creates a hostile work environment

Some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Display of inappropriate images or videos in the workplace
  • Spreading sexual rumors about an employee
  • Repeated unwanted touching
  • Making inappropriate jokes or comments related to sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of an employee or employees
  • Repeated requests for dates or sexual favors
  • Sending unwelcome emails and other communications of a sexual nature

Sexual harassment can either be by a supervisor or one of your co-workers. This distinction is a critical one because the identity of the harasser can determine your legal rights and remedies.

Whatever your gender or sex, if you are subjected to a steady stream of unwelcome and offensive conduct based on your sex, you have a right to file a complaint. If you complain about the harassment to your employer and they do nothing about it, you likely have a strong claim of sexual harassment.

What Can I Do If I'm Being Sexually Harassed?

Here's what you can do if you are the victim of sexual harassment:

  • If one of your co-workers is harassing you, you have an obligation to report the harassment to someone in authority. Many companies have personnel policies stating what you must do if you feel you have been sexually harassed. If your company has a policy, follow it to the letter.
  • If your company does not have a sexual harassment policy, find someone in authority and tell them. If you don't tell someone in authority, you'll lose the right to file a claim against the co-worker.
  • If the harasser is your supervisor or some other managerial employer, your case may be somewhat easier. If the harassment by the employer leads to what is called a tangible employment action, you don't necessarily have to follow policy to have a case.
  • If you do complain, and the company does nothing, you have the right to file a sexual harassment charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Once you file a charge with the EEOC, they will investigate, require your employer's response, and, in some, cases, bring the parties together for a voluntary mediation session.
  • If your case cannot be settled, the EEOC will close the investigation and give you a right to sue letter. This is what gives you the right to file a federal sexual harassment lawsuit and have a jury trial on your claims.

Filing a Complaint with the EEOC

Whatever type of harassment you may be experiencing, it is a very serious problem. If you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment, don't suffer in silence. In Georgia, you only have 180 days from the last act of harassment to file your claim with the EEOC. This is a very strict time limit--if you miss it by even one day, you will lose your right to sue.

Once you file with the EEOC, their representatives will help you to an extent. But the EEOC is not your lawyer, and they aren't necessarily looking out for your best interests. If you want to maximize your chance of succeeding with your claims, you should have an experienced sexual harassment attorney at your side to guide you through what can be a lengthy and confusing process.

As a result of our more than two decades of practice, we have developed a good relationship with the EEOC. We can help move the process along faster and obtain documents and other information from the employer. If appropriate, we can push the employer to participate in a mediation or conciliation conference to help you obtain a settlement without costly court proceedings.

Employer Retaliation Is Prohibited in Sexual Harassment Claims

Many people are hesitant to complain about sexual harassment for fear of an adverse job action. Although this is certainly a legitimate fear, the law does protect you. If you do complain about sexual harassment, and your employer than takes an adverse action, you may have aclaim for retaliation against your employer.

Employer retaliatory actions include:

  • Discharging you
  • Cutting your pay
  • Transferring you to a different location further from your home
  • Putting you on a less desirable shift

Learn Your Options by Calling (404) 471-3725

If you have been victimized by any form of harassment, you need to get help fast or you may lose your right to file a claim. We can give you that help right away when you reach out to our Atlanta lawyers.

Call us at (404) 471-3725 or request a consultation using our online form.