Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

At Patterson Harkavy, we are proud of our record of success on behalf of workers in cases of sexual harassment. Our attorneys have represented victims of sexual harassment across the state, and secured the largest jury award in state history representing five such victims against a real estate company. Another case against the North Carolina Department of Correction resulted in a new law protecting state employees from harassment.

If you believe to be the victim of sexual harassment, contact us to see if we can help.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Unlawful sexual harassment can occur when an employer or supervisor demands sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits, or when sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other conduct affects an individuals’ employment, interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment takes many forms. It can include sexual gestures, sexual images, and leering; it can include unwanted sexual advances, jokes, and comments; and it can include assault or unwanted touching.

What Laws Make Sexual Harassment Unlawful in the Workplace?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Title VII applies to public and private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as employment agencies, local governments, and the federal government. The Supreme Court has ruled that Title VII’s protections against sex discrimination apply to LGBTQ+ employees as well. Gay, lesbian, and transgender employees facing harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity may also be able to protect their rights under Title VII.

When employees notify their employer of sexual harassment, the employer is required to take reasonable steps to investigate, respond, and prevent future incidents of sexual harassment from occurring. Many employers will have internal processes for dealing with sexual harassment, permitting you to complain to an office, such as human resources, about the harassment. If you are a member of a union, your union representative may also be able to help you file the appropriate complaint. If your employer ignores your complaints, the harassment continues despite your efforts, or your employer retaliates against you because you reported the incident, you may have a federal claim against your employer.

North Carolina state law also has provisions in place that make workplace harassment unlawful. Employees have the right to work in a workplace free from sexual harassment and retaliation. The North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, as well as other state laws, protect North Carolina employees and applicants from discrimination based on sex, among other attributes. North Carolina law covers full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. It also recognizes the legal claims of emotional distress and civil battery in sexual harassment cases.

Make an Impact: Protect Your Rights

If you have been the victim of unlawful sexual harassment, you have the right to demand that the harassment stop and seek compensation from your employer. Our attorneys have a proven track record of representing the victims of sexual harassment across North Carolina. If you believe you have experienced sexual harassment in your workplace call Patterson Harkavy at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.