Anyone who was fired or forced to quit after experiencing sexual harassment at work.
Workers who were fired or forced to quit after experiencing sexual harassment on the job may be able to file lawsuits against their former employers. Over the past decade, both women and men have recovered thousands in lost wages, medical bills and mental anguish from their former employers.
What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like?
Generally, there are two types of sexual harassment – hostile work environment and quid pro quo (this for that).
What Is a Hostile Work Environment?
If the harassment is severe and pervasive enough to interfere with your work performance or creates a working environment that’s intimidating or offensive, you are generally said to be working in a “hostile environment.”
Conduct that leads to a hostile work environment can be verbal or physical and may include:
Telling (or e-mailing) sexual jokes
Talking about sexual activities
Commenting (even positively) on the way someone looks
Unwelcome and unnecessary touching
Posting sexually suggestive photos
Sending dirty text messages or e-mails
When the workplace becomes so unbearable that an employee is forced to quit or is fired for reporting the harassment, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit.
What Is Quid Pro Quo?
Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when employment decisions are directly linked to whether an employee rejects or welcomes sexual advances. For instance, if you were fired because you refused to sleep with your boss, you may be able to sue for wrongful termination.
It’s important to keep in mind that a harasser can be either male or female and that the victim does not need to be of the opposite sex. In fact, sexual harassment claims from men have been on the rise – including instances where men were harassed by both female and male employees. There have even been reported instances of men getting harassed for being too “effeminate” and being subjected to rough “horseplay” by other men.
Furthermore, there have been some instances in which employees were harassed by non-employees (such as a delivery person or client), which is still the responsibility of the employer.
Previous Sexual Harassment Settlements
Below are some examples of the amounts awarded in previous sexual harassment lawsuits:
$1.3 million for a saleswoman who was sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated
$363,418 for an intellectually disabled Walmart worker who was fired after complaining that a co-worker sexually harassed her
$230,000 for a woman who was forced to quit after being sexually harassed by a supervisor, reporting the conduct and being physically threatened for making a complaint
$150,000 for a woman who received sexually harassing phone calls and complained about them – only to be fired for it
$20,000 for a restaurant employee who was forced to quit after being subjected to offensive comments and inappropriate touching