The sad reality is that the vast majority of sexual harassment in the workplace goes unreported. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 88% of all sexual harassment incidents never get documented. Of the incidents that are reported, an insignificant amount ends up being formally reported to the EEOC. At the end of the day, virtually all offenses go unpunished.
It’s hard to know exactly why this phenomenon persists, but we can logically presume that most victims are simply afraid, embarrassed, or scared of losing their job. If you’ve been sexually harassed by your boss or manager at work, you may be distraught or in a state of shock, but it’s important to know that you have legal recourse against your aggressor.
Sexual harassment is illegal, and you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with an experienced Iowa-based sexual harassment lawyer today to see if you have a case.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment manifests in many ways. For example, a woman from Ely who worked in an architectural design firm recently sued her boss for filming her pumping breast-milk without her knowledge.
The victim in this case said that these secret videos were just the tip of the iceberg, and that her boss had been subtly harassing her for long periods of time by touching her, asking for hugs, standing too close, and engaging in other unsettling behavior.
The police ended up obtaining a search warrant and found 22 different videos of the woman pumping breast milk that were filmed with special hidden electronic devices that the perpetrator had secretly planted in the workplace. The woman’s boss has since been sentenced to prison, and he has had to pay an undisclosed settlement.
There are two types of sexual harassment:
- Hostile work environment: The previously mentioned case falls under this category. It is any sexual harassment where the victim is subject to some type of act or behavior that puts them in a “hostile work environment.” Besides secretly taping someone pumping breast milk, it can also include stalking, touching, rude comments, or unsolicited pornography.
- Quid pro quo: This is where someone in a company, usually a boss or high-ranking employee, tries to exchange a job benefit for sexual favors. A classic scenario is when a boss offers an intern a promotion in exchange for sleeping with him.
What are the laws against sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited at the federal level under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as at the state level under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. One or both of these laws can be invoked depending on your case.
Were you sexually harassed by your boss or employer?
Don’t wait any longer. Connect with an experienced Iowa sexual harassment lawyer today.