Norfolk, Virginia Sexual Harassment Attorney
Sexual harassment is an assault on a person’s dignity and worth. It can be emotionally scarring and even physically debilitating. Despite efforts to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace, offending behavior continues and victims seek recourse through the law. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment, Christian L. Connell P.C. is here to help. I have more than 19 years of experience litigating cases and negotiating settlements.
Understanding sexual harassment and the law
Sexual harassment is recognized as a form of discrimination outlawed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It exists when unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are linked to employment or career advancement, or simply make one’s job intolerable.
Quid pro quo
The first and most overt type of sexual harassment exists when a person’s employment or career advancement actually depends upon submission to a superior’s sexual overtures. This quid pro quo (this for that) exchange can be explicitly stated or merely implied by the overall circumstances.
Hostile work environment
This type of sexual harassment is found in workplaces where unwanted sexual conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. When a worker hates being on the job because of the sexual conduct she must see, hear or suffer, she may very well have a case for sexual harassment.
The unwelcome question
The sticking point for all sexual harassment claims is that the conduct must be unwelcome. Office flirtations and romances, even between a worker and a supervisor, are not harassment when they are fully consensual. Therefore, it is important for a victim to take reasonable steps to establish his or her objection to the behavior.
Same-sex sexual harassment
Sexual harassment does not have to be between members of opposite sex. Cases of same-sex harassment are prevalent, and it is not necessary to prove a homosexual orientation in the harasser.
Remedies to compensate and restore victims
Victims who prove sexual harassment may collect damages, including:
- Back pay – wages, salary, and fringe benefits that the victim would have received from the point at which she or he was denied employment or promotion up to the date of the trial
- Compensatory damages – for emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.
- Attorney’s fees – at the court’s discretion, to the prevailing party
- Punitive damages – limited to cases in which the employer’s behavior was intentional, with malice or reckless indifference toward the victim
- Front pay – compensation for anticipated future losses in cases where reinstatement is not practical
Injunctive relief, including reinstating a fired employee or ordering the employer to change policies and practices that allowed the harassment to occur, is also available.
Contact an aggressive employment attorney for your sexual harassment claim
Christian L. Connell P.C. will assert your rights against your employer. Call my Norfolk, Virginia office at 757-533-6500 or contact me online to schedule an initial consultation.