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When a supervisor or manager engages in sexually harassing conduct, it can have a detrimental effect on the entire workplace, not just the direct victim. An employer that does not have an effective complaint procedure may face liability for the actions of its supervisors. If you have a legal issue involving improper behavior in an Atlanta workplace by a supervisor or manager, the sexual harassment lawyers at Parks, Chesin & Walbert have the knowledge to help you.Improper Behavior by a Supervisor Can Lead to Serious Consequences
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on gender by employers with 15 or more employees. Sexual harassment is considered a form of gender-based discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) administers and enforces Title VII. Before filing a discrimination lawsuit under this law, an employee has to file a charge with the EEOC. The employee has only 180 days after the discrimination occurs to file the charge, so harassment victims should contact an attorney without delay.
There are two broad types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Inappropriate behavior by a supervisor may fall under either category, or both.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when an employment decision is based on the employee’s submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct. It may involve a request or demand for sexual favors in exchange for a benefit, or it may involve a threat of a negative employment action. The demand or threat may be express, or it may be implied. Quid quo pro harassment is usually committed by supervisors, managers, or others with the power to make an employment decision affecting the employee.
Supervisors may also be involved in hostile work environment sexual harassment. When the offensive conduct becomes so severe or pervasive that it results in an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment, it is illegal and can expose an employer to liability. Employees who are not the subject of the conduct may also have harassment or discrimination claims. The federal regulation states that a qualified person who is denied an employment benefit that is given to another employee because the other employee submitted to sexual advances or requests may have a gender discrimination claim against the employer.
Employers are liable for sexual harassment committed by a supervisor or manager if that behavior results in a tangible employment action. The entity may be able to raise an affirmative defense in a hostile work environment claim involving a supervisor by showing that it used reasonable care to prevent and correct the harassment and that the employee’s failure to take advantage of that opportunity was unreasonable or negligent. Courts will consider the surrounding circumstances to determine if the plaintiff may have had legitimate reasons not to follow the employer’s complaint procedure.
An employee may be able to obtain an injunction enjoining the discriminatory conduct, reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory, and, in some cases, punitive damages.Seek Legal Guidance for a Sexual Harassment Claim in Atlanta
The employment discrimination attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert can advise you of your legal rights and obligations in the Atlanta region and throughout Georgia. You should not hesitate to contact us if you may be affected by a sexual harassment case involving a supervisor or someone else at your workplace. Parks, Chesin & Walbert can be reached at 404-873-8048 or through our online form.