The attorneys at The Buenker Law Firm want you to know your civil rights. Under both state and federal law, employers are required to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment. What we see in the news and what makes headlines are usually the most overt and outrageous instances of sexual harassment, often involving high-profile people. Sexual harassment, however, is often much more subtle than the extreme stories we see in the news. Our sexual harassment lawyers in Houston, TX, are dedicated to fighting for your right to a comfortable work environment with an employer who shows you respect and dignity. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable employment attorneys about your situation.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment takes many forms and can be insidious. If something a coworker, your boss, or a customer says or does makes you uncomfortable, you need to know your rights. Over the years, the lawyers at The Buenker Law Firm have handled numerous cases of sexual harassment.
Under both state and federal law, employers are required to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can be physical contact—rubbing the shoulders, pinching or patting the backside, kissing (cheek or lips)—or it can be verbal or nonphysical conduct, such as jokes, comments, or a look or a leer. Whether a particular action or course of conduct will be considered sexual harassment will depend on many factors, including but not limited to, for example, the work environment in which it occurs, how often it occurs, whether the conduct would offend the “average” person, whether or not the person complaining took part in the conduct, and what the employer’s response was when notified about the unacceptable conduct.
Sexual harassment has been against the law for over 40 years. In the early 1970s, courts began to use Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit sexual harassment. Despite all of the high-profile sexual harassment cases that have been in the news over the years, sexual harassment continues to infect the workplace and poison the environment for many workers.
Sexual harassment is defined by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature ... when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment."
Harassment is Not Limited by Gender
Actionable sexual harassment typically involves complaints by female employees against their male supervisors or co-workers. Sometimes the harassment comes from specific actions by one individual, and sometimes, the harassment comes from a culture that has been allowed to develop at the company.
Sexual harassment claims are not limited to claims by females against males. Sometimes, male employees are harassed by their female bosses. In addition, over the last several years, there have been a growing number of same-sex harassment claims made, with male workers accusing their male bosses and female employees claiming that they were harassed by a female. This area of employment law is constantly developing and thus, consultation with an attorney familiar with the law is essential if you think that you may have a claim.
What Can You Do About It?
You do not have to tolerate sexual harassment or a hostile work environment. If you believe you are the target of such conduct or are working in an environment that makes you uncomfortable, contact us online or call The Buenker Law Firm today at (713) 868- 3388.