Sexual Harassment Cases
Sexual harassment may occur in a few different forms. The first type of harassment is also known is sexual discrimination. Illinois state laws are designed to protect employees in many ways and often make it illegal to discriminate against employees based on age, disability race, religion, sex and sexual orientation. Furthermore, employers may be violating federal discrimination and sexual harassment laws by demoting, terminating, refusing to hire or promote based on any of mentioned above classes. These laws were put in place to protect employees while allowing them the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and sexual harassment because of their affiliation or membership of a protected class.
The second type of harassment of this nature is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome actions such as actions, comments, jokes, unwanted touching or mistreatment by a supervisor, employer, co-worker, or customer in the workplace. Illinois state laws do not tolerate this type of abuse in the workplace however, to be actionable; the harassment must be more than a superior or co-worker failing to be nice to the employee and must be severe enough to create a “hostile work environment.”
While a hostile work environment can be a gray area, a hostile work environment is created when actions, comments, jokes, or other harrassments create an environment where a reasonable person would find the environment as “hostile.” Isolated incidents are not typically considered harassing until the actions become repeated. These actions may consist of sexual harassment or other illegal employment practices.
The third type of harassment is deemed as retaliation and is prohibited under federal laws of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as by the Illinois Human Rights Act. It is illegal to retaliate against employees who have sought to protect their legal rights by making a sexual harassment complaints or retaining a sexual harassment attorney.
It is your right to go to work without having to be harassed and yet it happens far too often. Many employers or even superiors push the envelope far too often while creating a work environment that is not enjoyable. If you feel your rights have been violated, contact us for a free consultation. The lawyers at Heitz & Bromberek have successfully handled multiple sexual harassment cases and can assist you if you’ve been harassed or suffered other illegal conduct.