The use of sexual harassment lawyers and attorneys in resolvings sexual harassment complaints is on the increase. Sexual harassment includes any kind of unwelcome conduct, or inappropriate behaviour, that is of a sexual nature.
When employers fail in their responsibility to adequately protect their employees against sexual harassment, or, when a sexual harassment incident occurs, and they fail to take proper and timely remedial action, their company could face litigation.
This litigation could result in large financial penalties, as well as unwanted publicity for the company.
Also, employers have an obligation to investigate allegations of sexual harassment once a complaint has been lodged with their company. Failure to take proper remedial action can lead to a court case.
In recent years there have been a number of important rulings delivered by the United States Supreme Court on sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Supreme Court of Canada has also issued a number of rulings on workplace sexual harassment. In Canada it is the employers' responsibility to provide employees with a harassment-free workplace.
These rulings have placed the liability on employers for sexual misconduct of their staff especially those in positions of authority (e.g. managers, supervisors, lecturers, and teachers).
Here the onus is on those individuals in authority, not to abuse their authority and/or power to sexually harass or intimidate their subordinates or others.
Having an experienced sexual harassment attorney, or lawyer, to litigate on one's behalf can result in the employer being liable for both compensatory and punitive damages. In most cases this can prove very costly for the company being sued.
In both the United States of America and Canada, there a growing trend of using employment lawyers to address the issues of harassment at work.
Sexual harassment lawyers could be useful if you have been sexually harassed. Many Canadian employees, especially women, have experienced this type of harassment at work and it can seriously affect the victims' mental health.
Feelings of powerlessness, humiliation, shame, fear, degradation, embarrassment, anger, anxiety, depression and stress are common and many victims also experience physical side effects.
All employees have the right to a safe and healthy working environment. Using sexual harassment lawyers is one way to ensure that you get the legal protection you need.
Before you hire a lawyer, it's important to know what protection you enjoy. Under the Canadian Labour Code, employers must do all they can to ensure that no employee is the victim of sexual harassment.
Policies for dealing with this may be included with other recommended harassment policies, including who to contact and what may be considered harassment. Consensual sex or flirting is usually excluded, while unwanted sexual behaviour is included.
Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, sexual harassment is seen as a form of discrimination and this is forbidden. Provincial human rights acts also have similar provisions and may include definitions of what sexual harassment is.
Some of the unwanted behaviour that may be included under this heading is: leering, howls and catcalls, derogatory comments and innuendoes, inappropriate or unwelcome flirting and touching, as well as sexual assault.
Sexual assault is also covered under the Criminal Code of Canada, which prohibits simple sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault. Sexual harassment lawyers will be able to help you in such a case.
Sometimes it is difficult to navigate through the minefield of complex legal terms, especially if you are already feeling emotionally bruised.
Sexual harassment lawyers can be useful sources of information on your rights and on the provisions of the law and can help you to get appropriate compensation if your rights have been contravened.
If you plan to sue someone, or the company, for sexual harassment, then it is important to keep a record of letters, emails and incidents which will help to prove your case.
In many cases, harassers have several victims in the same workplace, so you may be able to find support and additional information from those people.
Challenging this negative behaviour is the only way to make it go away and to create a safe working environment once again. Hiring a sexual harassment attorney, or lawyer, with experience in this field, may be a good starting point in getting redress for this abuse.
For assistance with sexual harassment problems or other labour relations issues in your organization, contact us.