Are you being sexually harassed at work? Have you been subjected to a hostile work environment littered with derogatory comments, sexually offensive comments or inappropriate touching? The attorneys at Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC, are experienced in representing employees who have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

Your Legal Rights When Sexual Harassment Occurs

Employees have important legal rights that protect them from workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault or battery. Under federal law, sexual harassment in the workplace is considered a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and regulations set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Federal EEOC regulations assert that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; (2) submission or rejection to such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. The harassing comments need not be sexual in nature; offensive remarks about a person's sex can suffice. Moreover, sexual harassment can be same-sex harassment.

Based on the EEOC regulations and federal case law, two theories exist for an employee bringing a sexual harassment claim: the quid pro quo theory and the hostile work environment theory. A quid pro quo theory claim exists when an employee suffers a tangible employment action resulting from a refusal to submit to a supervisor's sexual demands. Under the hostile work environment theory, a claim exists if the co-worker's conduct toward the employee is considered severe or pervasive in the eyes of a reasonable person and the conduct creates an abusive work environment. Title VII allows an employee to bring a claim under either the quid pro quo theory or the hostile work environment theory.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is also unlawful under the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The state law definition of sexual harassment mirrors the federal EEOC regulation and applies to employers of any size.

What Is A Sexual Harassment Case?

Examples of possible sexual harassment cases include:

  • Under a quid pro quo theory, a retail assistant manager is stripped of her assistant manager title for refusing to submit to the general manager's sexual advances.
  • Under a hostile work environment theory, male co-workers post obscene cartoons in the office men's bathroom bearing a female employee's name and depicting her engaging in crude sexual acts.
  • Under a hostile work environment theory, a factory worker is repeatedly subjected to sexual slurs and vulgar, sexually related epithets from co-workers, and is told that the language is "standard operating procedure" in the factory.

When To Contact A Lawyer

Contact FOOTE, MIELKE, CHAVEZ & O'NEIL, LLC for a Request Free Case Evaluation if you have been:

  • Sexually harassed or asked to perform sexual acts
  • Denied a promotion as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Denied training as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Denied time off or vacation time as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Forced to endure sexually offensive comments or sexually based epithets
  • Scheduled for unfavorable shifts, work hours or days as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Demoted or transferred to a less favorable position as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Unfairly disciplined as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Denied benefits or privileges of employment that others are provided as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Paid less or denied bonuses as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Terminated as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment
  • Otherwise subjected to a hostile work environment, harassed, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly (differently) as a result of being sexually harassed or complaining/reporting sexual harassment

IMPORTANT: There are very important time limitations that govern your ability to bring a claim involving sexual harassment. It is imperative that you seek immediate legal advice if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment.

If you are a victim of sexual harassment, contact Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC, in Geneva, Illinois, by calling 630-232-7450.