If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s normal to be scared, embarrassed, or ashamed. These feelings are common, and they often cause the vast majority of sexual harassment incidents to go unreported and unpunished.
With that said, it’s important to know that what you’ve experienced is illegal, and that you may be entitled to compensation under Maine law. Sometimes it may be unclear whether or not you’ve been the victim of a crime. You may have just experienced an awkward or uncomfortable situation. If you’re not sure, you can always get in touch with a qualified Maine sexual harassment lawyer to see if you have a case.
What exactly is sexual harassment?
The United Nations defines sexual harassment as: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or
condition of an individual’s employment, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis
for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an
individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or
offensive working environment.”
Sexual harassment can occur in tons of different ways. To simplify it though, we can group all sexual harassment lawsuits into two categories. They are:
- Quid pro quo, and
- Hostile work environment
Quid pro quo in this context usually involves a power imbalance between two people within a company or organization. It’s when someone with more power than another person tries to exchange a job benefit for sex or sexual favors. A cliche example of quid pro quo is when a boss or CEO tells his secretary he’ll give her a bonus if she performs sexual favors for him.
Hostile work environment sexual harassment is when someone falls victim to behavior or conduct that puts them in a “hostile work environment.” This can include, but is certainly not limited to:
- Unwanted touching or sexual advances
- Unsolicited pornographic images, such as rude photo messages
- Stalking, following someone around after work, waiting by their car, etc.
- Rude comments or insults
If you’ve experienced something along the lines of these scenarios, then it may be time to get in touch with a lawyer.
Sexual harassment is illegal at the federal level under Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964, and at the state level under the Maine Human Rights Act.
Compensation can come in the form of:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Being rehired or reinstated
- Punitive damages like pain and suffering
Do you need help with a sexual harassment lawsuit in Maine?
From Aurora to Bayville, experienced sexual harassment lawyers are waiting to help you with your case. Get in touch today.