Women have made extraordinary professional strides over the last half-century. While many companies remain shamefully un-diverse, women are now working hard at every level of organizations throughout the economy.
This is indisputably a positive development. Tragically, however, some individuals and companies have failed to adjust and allow a culture of sexual harassment to flourish, putting both men and women at risk.
James Shoemaker is an employment lawyer with decades of experience in sexual harassment litigation. He knows how unacceptable such harassment is and he works with victims to pursue the compensation they deserve.
If you've been the victim of sexual harassment and you need an experienced lawyer, please call 757-223-4580 for a consultation.
Types of Sexual Harassment
There's a “classic” variety of sexual harassment that most people are familiar with and think of when the term sexual harassment comes to mind. This is quid pro quo sexual harassment.
In these cases, an individual with power over another (usually a supervisor dealing with an employee) uses that power to extract sexual favors. This can take the form of offering a raise or promotion in exchange for a date or sex, or trying to coerce such favors by threatening retribution if sex is refused.
This is loathsome behavior, as unacceptable as it is illegal. But it's not the only type of sexual harassment.
The other form of harassment our firm handles is hostile environment harassment. In these cases, the harassment is less about a precipitating incident or incidents or a single bad actor and is more about the culture and atmosphere cultivated at the company.
Too many companies implicitly tolerate an environment that is hostile, usually toward women. This hostility can take the form of:
- Insulting, degrading or sexually explicit jokes
- Tolerated sexual advances
- Circulation of pornography in the workplace
More generally, a hostile workplace environment is one in which individuals reasonably feel uncomfortable and unable to advance through the organization as a result of a culture tolerated by management.
Fighting for Your Rights in Sexual Harassment Litigation
Neither form of sexual harassment is acceptable. It can prevent you from advancing in your career and earning a salary commensurate with your talents. And it's important to remember that ultimate responsibility for repeated harassment doesn't just rest with the individual doing with the harassment – if it can be proven that management was aware of the specific harassment in question or tolerated a culture of harassment, the company as a whole can be held accountable.
Mr. Shoemaker understands the intricacies of local, state and federal sexual harassment laws. He can help you pursue compensation for the harassment you suffered, putting your career back on track and holding accountable those who harassed you or tolerated your victimization.
If you want to speak to our experienced sexual harassment lawyer about your experience and discuss your legal options, please call James Shoemaker at 757-223-4580 for a consultation. Though located in Virginia, Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein accepts employment law cases from across the country.
How an Attorney Can Help You Build a Sexual Harassment
Case Workplace sexual harassment claims can be difficult to navigate. It’s best to get the help of an employment law attorney, like Mr. Shoemaker, who knows what it takes to build a strong case.
Mr. Shoemaker will investigate your claim and gather supporting documentation. He will help you compile evidence and stay ahead of important deadlines. Familiar with federal and state sexual harassment laws, Mr. Shoemaker understands the best way to pursue your case. Of course, he will also make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the claim process.
Keep in mind that you typically cannot bring a civil lawsuit against your employer or another employee without a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC. Mr. Shoemaker can assist you in filing the necessary complaint. If the issue is still not resolved after the EEOC investigation, he will get to work building your case and seeking appropriate remedies for the harm you have suffered.
What Evidence Must Be Gathered To Prove Sexual Harassment?
A strong sexual harassment case is built on evidence. You will need to prove that you suffered workplace sexual harassment, that you reported the behavior, and that it continued or nothing was done about your complaint. You don’t want it to come down to your word against someone else’s. Gather as much information as you can to back up your claim, such as:
- Physical and digital communications
- Eyewitness statements
- Video footage
- Workplace emails, texts, or memos
- Your employment contract and employee handbook
- Documents about sexual harassment policies and procedures
It’s also a good idea to keep a journal when dealing with workplace sexual harassment. If you can, try to write down each instance of harassment as it happens, including specific information such as the date and time, the people involved, and how the incident affected your work and wellbeing. Doing so will help make sure that you don't forget or misremember the facts.
What To Bring When Meeting an Attorney About a Sexual Harassment Case
Your initial meeting with an attorney can be a bit overwhelming. You will get the most out of it if you come prepared with some essential documents. In the case of a sexual harassment claim, your list of things to bring should include:
- Evidence to prove the harassment, such as emails, texts, or copies of offensive visuals.
- Evidence that you reported the harassment, such as reports, letters, emails, or notes.
- A list of the losses you have suffered due to the harassment.
Settling a Case vs. Taking It to Court
Sometimes, a lawsuit can be resolved before the issue reaches a trial. You can reach a settlement at any point during litigation. It’s not unheard of to agree to one the same day a lawsuit goes to court. In some workplace sexual harassment cases, a settlement is ideal. In others, it’s better to take the matter to court. Our lawyer will let you know what makes sense for your specific situation. In general, if you can get a fair settlement for your damages without the need for trial, then that’s all the reason you need to settle outside of court. However, if your employer refuses to give you the remedies you deserve and your case is strong, then going to trial may be best.
How Are Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlements Calculated?
Sexual harassment lawsuit settlements are calculated based on the losses that the plaintiff suffered due to the harassment. They can include damages such as:
- Back pay (wages, bonuses, tips, commissions, vacation or sick pay, benefits, and other types of compensation).
- Front pay (future potential earnings when reinstatement is not possible).
- Pain and suffering (emotional upset caused by the harassment).
- Punitive damages (intended to punish the defendant for intentional or egregious acts). Attorney’s fees.
Call Today for Your Personal Injury Consultation
With decades of experience as a trial attorney, James H. Shoemaker, Jr. is available to provide dedicated and compassionate legal representation to injured clients nationwide.
If you have been a victim of sexual harrasment, call Mr. Shoemaker today at 757-223-4580. One of our paralegals will review the facts of your case with you and then Mr. Shoemaker will call you and discuss your case with you free of charge*.
Located in Newport News, Mr. Shoemaker serves clients throughout Virginia, Virginia Beach, Washington, DC, and the United States.