Seattle workers deserve a job free of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, far too many workers are harassed based on their sex or gender identity, which makes work intolerable. Premier Law Group uses federal and state laws to help our clients seek justice and hold employers accountable. Contact our firm to find out more about whether you have a valid legal claim.
Federal Sexual Harassment Law
The primary federal law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment. Under federal law, sexual harassment includes quid pro quo—offering something in exchange for sexual favors—as well as a hostile work environment. Title VII only applies to employers with at least 15 workers.
There are many misconceptions about sexual harassment law. For example, both men and women can be victims, and your harasser could be of any gender. The conduct, however, must be unwelcome.
Workers often need clarification on whether they have a legal claim. One issue involves whether the harassing conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to make your workplace hostile. Maybe someone told an offensive joke or flirted with you, which made you uncomfortable. It’s normal to feel unsure if the conduct you experience is sufficiently serious to warrant a legal claim. Call us so we can hear more and offer our advice.
Washington Law on Sexual Harassment
Washington State has also passed its sexual harassment laws. They cover much of the same conduct as the federal law, including quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Washington law covers more employers.
Our state law also provides greater protections to workers. For example, RCW 49.76 requires that an employer offer a worker time off or a reduced schedule to deal with sexual or domestic violence. The worker can use the time to seek treatment, including counseling, or even relocate for their safety.
What You Should Do if You Face Harassment
The law places obligations on victims to stand up and protect themselves. We recommend the following:
- Document the harassment as best you can. Note any witnesses who observed harassing behavior, as well as any unwanted touching. Also, preserve notes, emails, Slack messages, or voicemails that contain harassing or offensive language.
- Complain to your employer using the established grievance system. Look in an employee manual to see what steps to take. Typically, you must report harassment to Human Resources.
- Continue to come to work. An employer might try to retaliate against you for complaining about sexual harassment. You do not want to give them a reason to justify termination. Come to work as expected and do your best job.
These steps preserve your rights. If your employer knows about the harassment, they must make it stop—otherwise, they open themselves up to liability.
Speak to a Seattle Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
Premier Law Group has fought for men and women suffering from sexual harassment at work. There is no excuse for this type of offensive, gender-based conduct. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can provide more detailed advice for what steps to take next.