Sexual harassment is an unfortunate reality in far too many U.S. workplaces. However, its frequency does not mean that workers who are harassed should simply accept such treatment. It can sometimes be difficult to establish that sexual harassment has taken place, but if it is possible, you may be able to seek redress from your employer. Every worker has the right to be free from harassment on the job. Learn more about sexual harassment in South Carolina workplaces.
Most people think of sexual harassment as being a quid pro quo of advancement or favorable treatment in exchange for sexual favors. However, sexual harassment can also be the creation of a general hostile work environment for anyone of a certain sex, and not specifically prurient in nature. Making offensive comments about women in mixed company, for example, may prove a part of a claim for sexual harassment because it can be argued that only one sex would find such comments threatening or offensive.
The victim and the alleged harasser can be of any gender, and can be at any rank in the company—they do not have to be in the same department or have any real working relationship. In addition, if there is a specific target victim, they may have a claim. However, what many are not aware of is that anyone who is affected by the conduct may in theory have a claim for harassment as well—not just the original target. It is important to keep in mind that while mere jokes or teasing are generally not enough to file a charge over, a claim is permissible if the jokes are persistent enough to create a hostile work environment.
Filing A Charge
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it is also against the South Carolina Human Affairs Law. If you believe that you are being sexually harassed at work, the first step to take is to contact your Human Resources department to have the issue addressed in-house. However, if the problem persists, filing a charge with either the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the best option, depending on how large your employer is.
There is a specific amount of time in which you may file a charge—the EEOC requires it to be filed within 180 days of the inciting incident, though depending on the specific situation, state law may allow up to 300 days for you to file. Once you file, the agency will investigate the nature of your situation. They will then either take up your case in court or provide you with what is known as a Right-to-Sue letter. This essentially states that you have a valid claim, even if the EEOC will not handle your case themselves.
Call A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Sexual harassment in South Carolina workplaces is illegal, and it is a dehumanizing experience that no one should ever have to go through. If you have been harassed, you do not have to go through this alone. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has been handling these types of cases for years, and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts can offer dedicated and compassionate representation in these types of situations. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.