Even in the age of the “Me, Too” movement, sexual harassment remains a significant factor in today’s workplace. At The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., our Charlotte sexual harassment attorney team has extensive experience representing men and women targeted for sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is illegal under both federal and North Carolina law. If you are the victim of sexual harassment, you may recover damages by filing a complaint with state and federal regulators and a corresponding lawsuit. Our sexual harassment attorneys, serving Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina, have decades of experience providing counsel to help you recover punitive, compensatory, or injunctive relief for your damages. The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., would welcome the attorney to stand by your side as you seek justice for the harm against you.
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What Is Considered Sexual Harassment at Work in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Both Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. Under these laws, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and harassing behavior or harassing comments involving sex. Comments do not have to be explicit to meet the definition of sexual harassment. It’s important to note that sexual harassment can include members of the same sex and members of the opposite sex.
Study the following examples that could meet the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Sharing pornographic images, videos, or animated GIFs.
- Sending explicit letters, notes, emails, or texts.
- Telling sexually-oriented jokes.
- Repeatedly asking a co-worker out on dates, even after an individual declines.
- Conditioning a raise or a promotion on sexual favors or a date.
- Making comments about a co-worker’s appearance or inquiring about one’s relationship status.
- Making insulting comments about a co-worker’s gender identity.
- Unwanted touching, kissing, or other physical contact
- Stalking or paying someone an uncomfortable amount of attention, either inside or outside the workplace.
- Blocking a co-worker’s movement or trapping someone in a corner.
Comments or behavior tied to sex become harassment only if they are frequent, create a hostile work environment, or lead to negative employment decisions such as a reduction in pay, demotion, or firing. Practical jokes, teasing comments, remarks, or other statements or behaviors generally do not meet the definition of sexual harassment if they happen occasionally or in isolation.
The experienced sexual harassment attorneys in the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., can help evaluate your case and make a professional recommendation on how to proceed. They can also advise where appropriate the best ways to document the harassment and gather evidence.
What Types of Cases Does a Charlotte Sexual Harassment Lawyer Handle?
Sexual harassment takes many potential forms. Experienced sexual harassment attorneys can represent you in the following types of situations:
Quid Pro Quo
Cases in which a supervisor or co-worker seeks sexual favors before awarding some benefit — for example, a pay raise, promotion, vacation time off, or preferred office location. Quid pro quo in Latin means “this for that.” A quid pro quo can also involve sexual favors to avoid something negative, such as a demotion, pay cut, or layoff.
An essential element of a quid pro quo case is that the harasser must be in a position of authority, such as a supervisor — someone with the authority to obtain the employment benefit or fend off the negative employment action. Quid pro quo does not have to be spoken aloud but can be implied.
Cases involving a pattern of harassing behavior that makes the workplace unpleasant and uncomfortable can affect a person’s job performance or health or force the individual to quit. In contrast to quid pro quo cases, anyone can create a hostile workplace, not just a supervisor alone.
Pattern and Practice
In certain cases, sexual harassment may be widespread across the workplace. This prevalence may give rise to “pattern and practice” lawsuits that allege pervasive, systemic problems against employers and seek changes in policies and practices to eliminate the harassment. These cases can be complicated to win and require an experienced sexual harassment attorney to help evaluate.
What Should You Do if You Experience Sexual Harassment at Work in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Most immediately, you should take steps to protect yourself. Tell the harasser that you are uncomfortable and ask the person to stop immediately. If this request fails as a deterrence, tell your direct supervisor and begin filing a formal grievance (if your company has one).
If that activity also proves unsuccessful, it’s time to escalate the case to senior management. Management is legally obligated to make sure no one in the company retaliates against you for your complaints. This step can help show whether your employer responded to your claim with seriousness and purpose.
If you have tried these steps to no avail and decide to initiate legal proceedings, you first must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An experienced sexual harassment attorney like those in the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., can help you file your complaint and, if applicable, the related lawsuit.
How Do I Build a Solid Sexual Harassment Case?
Being a victim of sexual harassment at work is a frustrating, frightening, and lonely experience. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can often devolve into cases of “he said, she said.” One of the most important things you can do is keep detailed records of harassing behavior.
Sometimes these records might be direct evidence, such as emails, texts, voicemails, or other correspondence. Take the time to print these documents or save them offline since they provide an immediate record of what you’ve faced.
But even if these items don’t exist, you should take the time to document the harassment you’ve experienced. Write down what happened, who was involved, and where and when the harassment happened. Make sure to include the date and time you are making these notes. Also include information about anyone who may have witnessed the harassment. Describe how you reacted and responded, either during the harassment or immediately afterward.
The same advice goes for any sign of retaliation post-complaint, such as getting demoted or moved to a less desirable position. Taking detailed notes on what happened can make your case better substantiated.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover from a Charlotte Sexual Harassment Case?
Harassment in the workplace based on sex is illegal under state and federal law, both of which provide monetary relief. The type of relief will depend on the circumstances involved in your case. In general, sexual harassment victims can receive the following remedies:
- Non-monetary injunctive relief: Sexual harassment cases can lead to injunctions that, for example, require employers to change how they operate or to give you back your job.
- Compensatory damages, or out-of-pocket expenses tied to the acts of sexual harassment: Examples include medical and hospital costs, physical therapy, job search expense, property damages, and transportation costs.
- Punitive damages: These acts punish employers or employees who commit egregious acts of sexual harassment.
- Lost wages: This award seeks to make you whole financially if the sexual harassment caused you to miss work or become unemployed.
- Emotional distress: These compensatory damages cover instances of sexual harassment that cause anguish, distress, or mental suffering.
Plaintiffs may also receive damages for civil battery, intentional harmful or offensive nonconsensual physical contact with another person.
How Much Does a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Charlotte Cost?
The cost of hiring a sexual harassment attorney depends on the facts of each case. More complicated circumstances require more time to resolve and incur higher expenses. However, many sexual harassment attorneys offer free upfront consultations where they will evaluate the facts and evidence and provide a recommendation for how best to proceed. This consultation is also an opportunity for you to understand the attorney’s background, personality, and approach to legal matters and decide if they are a fit.
If you decide to move forward, you and the attorney will also discuss payment terms. Sexual harassment attorneys typically are compensated in one of several ways.
- Contingency: A contingency fee agreement means that you pay no money upfront. The attorney gets compensated only when you win your case. The fee typically ranges between 15% to 30% of the verdict or settlement.
- Flat fee: Also called a retainer, the flat fee means that you pay a fixed amount to your sexual harassment attorney, regardless of the case outcome.
- Hourly fees: Your sexual harassment attorney charges you by the hour for the time spent on the case, including paperwork, phone calls, settlement negotiations, or court hearings.
Contact Our Sexual Harassment Attorneys in Charlotte, NC
Sexual harassment is unacceptable under any circumstances. Let The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a discreet, no-obligation consultation.
301 S McDowell St #1016
Charlotte, NC 28204