Seattle Sexual Harassment Attorneys Help Victims Seek Relief
Washington firm assists workers subjected to unwanted advances
Despite heavy attention in the media, unlawful sexual harassment persists in the workplace. At Mann & Kytle, PLLC, we are accomplished Seattle sexual harassment attorneys who represent victims as they pursue justice from the individual harassers and the employers who failed to prevent the abusive behavior. No matter what type of response you received in the workplace, we will listen to all the ways in which you’ve been harmed by the inappropriate actions of people on the job. From there, our attorneys will develop a sound strategy for handling negotiations, administrative hearings and, if necessary, litigation.
What are the types of sexual harassment?
Different types of legal claims are associated with sexual harassment, including:
- Quid pro quo harassment — Situations where a supervisor or someone else in a higher position pressure a worker into giving them sexual attention is known as quid pro quo harassment. It can take the form of benefits that are offered to coerce someone into a physical relationship or threats of adverse job actions for employees who refuse.
- Hostile work environment — Comments, jokes, pictures, gestures, touching or other offensive activity of a hostile or sexual nature that is serious or pervasive creates a hostile work environment. Unlike quid pro quo claims, the harasser does not have to be someone with greater workplace authority, or even an employee of your employer.
- Retaliation — Retaliation by employers and perpetrators is common after complaints of harassment. However, it is illegal and we can represent you in a retaliation or wrongful termination action if you were intimidated, damaged or fired because you reported sexual harassment.
Whether your boss is abusing his or her power to try and get a date with you or a supervisor or co-worker’s stream of demeaning or offensive jokes, comments or touching is making your job intolerable, a Seattle employment lawyer at our firm can outline your rights and help you pursue compensation for what you’ve endured.
Is same-sex sexual harassment illegal in Washington?
Sexual harassment is illegal regardless of the parties’ sexes or sexual preferences. This is true both on a federal level and within the State of Washington. Though most people usually associate sexual harassment with cases where male bosses pressure female workers under their supervision, it is the offensive behavior that matters, not the gender or sexual orientation of the individuals involved.
What is third-party sexual harassment?
Frequently, the person committing sexual harassment against an employee is not a supervisor or co-worker. A contractor, vendor, customer or someone else who is frequently in the workplace might engage in behaviors that create a hostile work environment. In other situations, your boss might encourage you to go out with, or continue to serve, a client who has expressed an unwelcome sexual interest in you. Your employer has a duty to maintain a safe, healthy workplace and you can pursue a legal remedy against your employer even if your on-the-job harasser is employed by someone else. You might also have a claim against the party who is violating your ability to work in peace.
Who is responsible for co-worker sexual harassment?
If a supervisor or co-worker is tormenting you with dirty jokes, explicit photos or anything else that is contributing to a hostile work environment, you might have a claim against your employer as well as the individual offender. Companies can be held liable if they allowed an unhealthy situation to fester when they knew, or should have known, about the problem. Many of these cases turn on whether the victim can demonstrate that management was aware of the sexual harassment, so it is wise to report the problem to a supervisor, and/or someone with responsibility for human resources. Document each offensive incident and each communication you had with someone in authority regarding the improper behavior.
Steps to take if you are sexually harassed
Proving sexual harassment can be tricky. Someone who is accused improper behavior might claim that their comments were taken out of context, their actions were misinterpreted or that the victim was a willing participant in what went on. As soon as you believe something is wrong, write down your impressions with details and dates. If you have witnesses, ask them to document the date, time and basic facts and provide you a signed copy of their notes. The conduct in question need not be explicitly sexual. A witness might have heard comments that created a hostile work environment or recognized that your boss retaliated against you for filing a claim. Be direct about your objection to the harassment and any retaliation, if possible. Retaining a seasoned attorney might be the best option if mistreatment continues.
What are some of the remedies you might expect?
Financial and psychological harm from harassment can be devastating. If the illegal behavior you’ve faced is compelling you to consider quitting, it’s wise to see a lawyer and/or a counselor before you leave your job. When the harassment leads to physical or mental health problems, reimbursement might be available for treatment costs, along with the career damage linked to the harassment. You might also be able to obtain a leave of absence if necessary if that is necessary to help you recover so that you can one day return to your job under better conditions.
Contact an effective Seattle sexual harassment lawyer to discuss your legal options
Mann & Kytle, PLLC in Seattle represents victims of sexual harassment in claims throughout Washington. Please call 206-457-2057 or contact us online to make an appointment with an accomplished attorney.