Types of Sexual Harassment Cases We Handle
At the Denton Law Firm, we handle a select number of sexual harassment cases. Want to know if we can help you? Check out some of the questions below to see if our firm might be able to help you.
Do you handle harassment cases outside the workplace?
No. We only handle harassment at work. We strictly work with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases. If you have a case that’s outside the workplace, you will need to contact a different firm to assist you. Also, if someone is harassing you and you believe you are a victim of stalking, you should go the county courthouse and speak with the court about a emergency protective order. If you think someone is stalking you and might cause you harm, you should immediately report that person to the police in your city or county.
What counts as sexual harassment?
First, federal laws against sexual harassment only apply to companies with more than 15 employees. If you would at what some would call a "Mom and Pop Shop", you might not be able to make a claim under Title VII (the federal law against employment based sexual harassment and discrimination).
- Your boss or co-worker is not allowed to harass you.
- Has your boss demanded sexual favors in exchange for things like pay raises, promotions or time off?
- Have you been punished with demotion or been fired because you refused to be a sexual plaything? We might be able to help.
While demeaning comments and creating a hostile work environment based on sexual discrimination are also illegal, our firm typically only handles the most extreme of cases, where sexual favors are involved. Other types of cases should still be reported to HR and the EEOC. Other law firms might handle different cases. But we specialize in bringing the most extreme sexual predators to justice.
What should I do?
- Have you told your boss no in response to requests for sexual favors? You need to show or be able to say you rejected the advances. We often can’t help in situations of consensual relationships gone wrong.
- Have you reported your boss to HR? Have you recorded all of your meetings with both the boss and HR? Oklahoma is a single-party consent state. That means you have the ability to record your meetings with your boss or HR without their consent in this state. You can collect evidence to prove your case.
- If the harassment continues after reporting, be sure to gather as much paper/photo/recorded evidence as you can.
What if HR has done nothing?
Unfortunately, not all companies take swift and decisive action to deal with harassment. Make sure you take notes of all meetings and correspond in writing as much as possible. Create a document trail regarding your complaint. Keep printed copies for yourself and make sure they are dated. It’s good practice, because even if HR resolves your issue, you have documentation for each time you speak to them.
How can I prove I’m being harassed?
One of the biggest challenges with sexual harassment cases is proof. Many cases can be he-said, she-said. It’s one of the things that can prevent HR from acting. If you have text messages, emails, photographs, or recordings that prove the harassment, your case is much stronger. After all, one of the tenants of U.S. justice is innocent until proven guilty. It’s what has allowed predators like Doctor Nassar (who examined and molested underaged Olympic athletes in the course of his profession) to exist for a long time. If multiple victims join together against a predator, that can help make a case as well. Is there anyone else in the same boat? Are they willing to testify or make a recorded statement or join you in a lawsuit?
Luckily, Oklahoma believes in the right to single-party consent recording. If it comes down to it, you can walk around with a recording device on your person at all times. Most days will amount to nothing, but you might be able to gain evidence that can help prove harassment.
How much can I win if I sue?
Don’t think that far ahead yet. Lawsuits can be a slow and painful processes and should never be counted on as guaranteed. We believe in fully advising clients about that ahead of time.
Don’t look at the paper regarding lawsuit settlements. Your facts and circumstances probably don’t exactly match up with any other case. Headlines also only state jury awards, not awards that have been changed during the appeals process. Finally, more liberal states like California and Florida tend to make headlines for huge settlements. Large settlements in very liberal states do not usually equate to the same result in Oklahoma.
How long will my case take?
The lead up to a lawsuit can be two years itself, with mediation and other attempts to settle before suit. The lawsuit and any appeals afterward can stretch out years. The reason to pursue a lawsuit is to obtain justice and to protect others from receiving the same nightmare treatment you received.
One of the benefits to a slow pursuit, is that the suit involved the EEOC. That means that if we can get enough evidence to get the federal agency on our side, they can hit the company with federal oversight. It means the company could be required to add more harassment training, be subject to onsite visits from federal workers, etc. It means your lawsuit could have an impact that will improve the entire workplace experience.
Do I have to pay taxes on my settlement?
Yes. You probably will. We are not tax advisors. We always recommend you discuss any settlement with a tax professional as we do not provide any tax advice.