Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in workplaces throughout Chicago despite federal and state laws designed to protect employees. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual advances or offensive comments at work, you need an experienced employment law attorney at your side who has adept knowledge of Chicago’s sex discrimination laws.
Vaziri Law, LLC is dedicated to helping victims fight back. Our firm has a proven history of successfully resolving workplace harassment claims through negotiation and litigation and helping our clients obtain just compensation. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is considered an unlawful form of sex-based discrimination under federal, state, and local law. Harassment can occur in a number of ways. For example, a supervisor or another person in a position of authority who makes sexual advances or demands in exchange for an employment benefit (e.g. job offer, raise, promotion) may have committed quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Another type of harassment, referred to as a hostile work environment, arises when anyone in the workplace (e.g. a supervisor, coworker, customer, client, vendor) engages in a pattern of unwelcome conduct, comments or displays injected with sex-based discrimination, that interferes with the victim’s ability to perform his or her job.
While women are more likely to be victimized, sexual harassment can impact anyone regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In any event, all employees have a right to a work environment free from harassment and discrimination. Moreover, an employer that knows, or reasonably should have known, about workplace harassment and fails to stop it may be held liable.
Identifying Sexual Harassment in Chicago
Sexual harassment involves any unwanted sexual behavior, offensive conduct, comments, or visual displays of a sexual nature, such as:
- Visual conduct — Staring, leering, displaying sexually explicit pictures, posters, or cartoons;
- Verbal conduct — Slurs, jokes, or comments of a sexual nature; and
- Physical conduct — Sexual gestures or unlawful touching up to and including sexual assault.
In addition, offensive comments need not be of a sexual nature to constitute sexual harassment. For example, making derogatory comments about women, in general, is also a form of unlawful harassment and sex discrimination.
Finally, many sexual harassment claims also involve employment retaliation, which occurs when an employer takes an adverse action (e.g. firing, demoting, disciplining) against an employee who complains about or reports sexual harassment. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or retaliation in your workplace, you need an attorney who will fight hard to protect your rights in and out of the courtroom.
How Vaziri Law Can Help With Your Claim
Knowing that many victims are reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and your reputation. There are also steps you can take to support your claim, including:
- Document instances of offensive conduct or comments;
- Notify the offender directly or in writing (e.g. email) that the comments or conduct are unwanted and must stop; and
- Report the harassment to a supervisor or human resources personnel.
Creating a record of the harassment and sex discrimination, and your attempts to stop it will serve as valuable evidence in support of your claim. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation, obtain and review personnel files, identify and interview witnesses (including the offender), review employee handbooks and employment policies, and help you explore your legal options.
You should know that applicable federal law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Also, you must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before proceeding with a lawsuit.
On the other hand, the Illinois Human Rights Act applies to most employers and offers victims of discrimination and harassment in smaller work settings legal protections. We have extensive experience negotiating and litigating sexual harassment claims and will work to help you recover meaningful compensation, which includes damages such as:
- Lost wages (e.g. back pay, front pay);
- Lost benefits;
- Compensatory damages (e.g. pain and suffering, emotional distress); and
- Attorneys’ fees and costs.
In addition, if we can show that your employer knew about the harassment or discrimination but failed to stop it, you may also be awarded punitive damages. Above all, we will work closely with you to right this wrong and help prevent others from being victimized by workplace harassment.
Contact Our Experienced Chicago Sexual Harassment Lawyer
At Vaziri Law, LLC, we believe that employers must have zero tolerance for sexual harassment and we are committed to holding them accountable. Our employment lawyer is highly experienced in litigating quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment claims, as well as claims arising from third-party sexual harassment. No one should have to put up with sexual harassment in the workplace. Contact our office today so we can start working on your claim.
Vaziri Law helps residents of Chicago with Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination including those who live in Cook County, Dupage County, Lake County, McHenry County, and Will County.