Sexual harassment is illegal at both the state and federal level, and it’s becoming harder and harder for perpetrators of the crime to get away with it. All employers should be giving their employees thorough anti-sexual harassment training, and they should also have sets of protocols and procedures for sexual harassment incidents. 


If you’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace here in D.C,, know that it is illegal and that you have rights under state and federal laws to defend yourself. You also may be entitled to compensation. Make sure to get in touch with an experienced, local D.C sexual harassment attorney who can help you seek justice. 


What are the laws against sexual harassment? 


At the state level, Mayor Murial Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order updating what constitutes as sexual harassment, how employers are supposed to report on it, and a list of protections granted to employees should they be involved in an incident. This order, together with state laws prohibiting sexual harassment, provide fairly strong legal pathways for victims of the crime. 


Federally, there is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace for all companies, private and public, with more than 15 employees. In Title VII, sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination. 


Sexual harassment can occur in seemingly endless different scenarios. To simplify our understanding though, we can generally break up all sexual harassment lawsuits into two categories: 


  • The first is “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. This scenario usually involves a power imbalance within a company or organization. A common example is a boss or high-ranking employee trying to pressure an intern into giving them sexual favors in exchange for a pay raise, promotion, or some type of job benefit. 
  • The other category of sexual harassment lawsuits is “hostile work environment.” This scenario is when someone is subject to an act or type of behavior that puts them in a hostile work environment. This can include things like:
    • Stalking, rude comments, unwanted sexual advances, or unsolicited sexualized photos. 


Some things that generally aren’t considered sexual harassment by courts are: 


  • Asking someone on a date
  • Consensual relationships
  • Suggestive eye contact
  • Non-sexual compliments like “You look nice today” 


Compensation in a sexual harassment lawsuit can come in the form of: 

  • Being reinstated or rehired
  • Front pay
  • Back pay
  • Punitive damages like pain and suffering


Anyone wishing to sue someone for sexual harassment in the workplace must file a complaint witht the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the last incident they experienced. They may be asked to participate in an investigation to validate the claims. 


Do you need help with a sexual harassment allegation? 


If you’re in Washington D.C, or even outside the city in places like Crestwood, an experienced D.C sexual harassment lawyer is waiting to help you get compensation today. 

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