Employee Rights Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The American workplace has undergone significant changes within the last few decades. As more women joined the workforce in the 1960s and 1970s, several shifts in office dynamics accompanied the evolving demographics. Most prominently, the rapid evolution of digital technologies reshuffled the traditional 9-5 schedule. Suddenly, working remotely became possible, and many companies and industries explored flexible or hybrid models of employment. Even though the worst of the pandemic has subsided, many offices continue to offer flexible or remote positions. In the middle of all of these substantial changes, a growing awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace has also occurred, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Workplaces across all industries have reckoned with these unacceptable (and illegal) actions, and it’s essential to understand that sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination. Although some instances of sexual harassment may be obvious, the majority of sexual harassment in the workplace behaviors are more subtle and difficult to identify as such. If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment at your place of work, you have the right to speak to a knowledgeable and compassionate Rhode Island attorney for sexual harassment to understand your options for pursuing justice and receiving legal remedies, such as compensation, back pay, or other forms of relief. This post will explore the somewhat turbulent and nuanced world of sexual harassment in the workplace and provide action steps for you to take to ensure that justice is served.

Dealing With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Both federal and state laws prohibit employment-based sexual harassment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” In other words, any actions that impact a worker’s ability to perform their job or feel safe at work may constitute forms of sexual harassment. While most people recognize that a male boss asking a female subordinate for sexual favors is a fairly black-and-white example of sexual harassment in the workplace, there are so many forms of sexual harassment and a wide range of factors that vary from instance to instance. As the EEOC points out, “The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.” Moreover, “The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.” Simply put, sexual harassment in the workplace can happen to anyone. The Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights states that approximately 40 to 70 percent of women and 10 to 20 percent of men have been victims of employment-related sexual harassment. Unfortunately, many victims feel too ashamed or afraid to report the incident, which not only leaves the victims in a vulnerable position where they may be subjected to further abuse but also allows the perpetrators to continue harassing those around them. Taking a stand and reporting instances of sexual harassment can empower you to reclaim your strength and bring the harassers to justice so they cannot continue to harm others.

Overcoming Cultural Barriers and Other Stigmas

Despite a growing awareness of the pervasive and destructive consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace, many myths, barriers, and other stigmas stubbornly persist and prevent many victims from coming forward. Many cultures continue to view survivors of sexual harassment in a negative light—with some social circles even blaming the victim for “inviting” these unwanted sexual advances at work. Additionally, long-ingrained gender stereotypes and norms can dissuade a survivor from pursuing justice. For example, males who experience sexual harassment at work may feel that no one will believe their account, as there continues to be a false assumption that men cannot be victims of sexual harassment. On a cultural level, many non-white survivors of sexual harassment in the workplace may carry a lack of trust in institutions, so they don’t see the value of reporting these unlawful incidents. No matter what your reasons are for being worried about the ramifications of reporting these incidents, consider working with a highly qualified and empathetic Rhode Island sexual harassment lawyer to understand your options and the possible remedies available to you.

How an Attorney for Sexual Harassment Can Help You

If you are wondering how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, you are far from alone. It’s natural to feel confused and even fearful at the thought of reporting these incidents and bringing the harasser to light. At Sinapi Law Associates, Ltd., we understand how overwhelming it can be to struggle with sexual harassment in the workplace, and it is our mission to pursue justice on your behalf. Our experienced lawyers provide assistance to victims through legal expertise, support throughout all phases of the reporting process, and exceptional representation in seeking justice and legal remedies for everything you have endured. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, we can explore the most strategic path forward—whether that be filing a sexual harassment in the workplace lawsuit, seeking compensation for any lost wages, denied benefits, or emotional pain you suffered, or other remedies you’re owed. When you enlist our guidance, you can trust that we will always treat you with the care, respect, and compassion you deserve. We will remain by your side every step of the way to advocate for your best interests and a brighter future.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of your options for seeking remedies and justice. Reach out to the dedicated and highly qualified legal team at Sinapi Law Associates, Ltd., by calling (401) 739-9690 to speak with a caring Rhode Island employment law attorney.

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