Sexual harassment usually goes unreported inside educational institutions. With exams, homework, and figuring out your future, most students have enough things to worry about without being involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Regardless, there are laws that protect people from sexual harassment at both the federal and state level. There’s also a law that specifically applies to educational institutions banning the crime that affects so many.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at your school, keep in mind that what you’ve been through is against the law. You have legal options, and you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with an experienced Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer today to see what your options are.
What are the laws on sexual harassment?
Every person in the country is protected from sexual harassment in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to all public and private companies with 15 or more employees. Under Title VII, sexual harassment is considered a form of gender-based discrimination.
At the state level, Massachusetts has the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), which prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. FEPA applies to all companies in the private and public sector with 6 or more employees.
Additionally, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects everyone within education institutions that receive federal aid. It applies to both students and teachers working at schools, and Governor Baker recently signed an update requiring the entities to adopt certain policies, procedures, and other mandates relating to sexual harassment.
Specifically, the new amendments state that the institutions must:
- adopt specified policies,
- provide training to certain groups,
- conduct climate surveys, report sexual misconduct data and information about the school’s policies
- enter into written memoranda of understanding with local law enforcement and sexual assault crisis centers.
If your school or university failed to comply with these regulations, this may be used as evidence against it by the courts that it was negligent in failing to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment usually occurs in the form of 2 main types. They are:
- Quid pro quo
- Hostile work environment
Quid pro quo is when someone tries to bribe another person with some type of benefit in exchange for sex or sexual favors. In the workplace, this could be a boss offering his secretary a raise in exchange for sleeping with him. In a school, it could be a teacher telling his student that he’ll give her an A on a paper if she performs sexual favors.
Hostile work environment is when someone is subject to some type of sexual act or misconduct that puts them in a hostile environment. This could be anything from groping, unwanted advances, or rude comments.
Did you experience sexual harassment at school in Massachusetts?
From Boston to Back Bay, experienced sexual harassment lawyers are waiting to assist you today.