Employee Rights and Complaint Procedure for Sexual Harassment
Dealing with on-the-job sexual harassment is difficult, but trying to understand your rights as an employee and determining the proper procedure for filing a complaint can add to the already stressful situation. You might be generally aware that you can take action, and you may know your employer’s general policies about addressing inappropriate behavior. Still, sexual harassment laws in Maryland can be complicated, so it’s important to consult with an attorney about your unfortunate experience. Some answers to the most commonly asked questions about sexual harassment may also be helpful.
What are my rights as an employee regarding sexual harassment?
In general, you have a right to work in an employment environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, pressure, inappropriate touching, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Both federal and Maryland law prohibit employment discrimination based on sex, a definition that includes sexual harassment.
How do I file a complaint for sexual harassment?
Before filing an official complaint, you should address the incident or ongoing conduct that you find sexually offensive. Communicate your position to the offender in an email or other writing, stating that you find his or her behavior to be sexually harassing in nature. Discuss the misconduct with your supervisor or another person of authority at your company.
In addition, you should consult your employee manual regarding how to report or address sexual harassment in the workplace. Often, an employer’s policies will give you guidance on how to file a complaint within your company.
If the behavior continues, you may file a complaint with state government, specifically the Maryland Commission on Human Rights. An agent will assist you with the paperwork and initiate an investigation into the sexual harassment claims. You may also consider filing a lawsuit for employment discrimination, as you may be entitled to monetary damages under the law.
What if the offender is my boss?
The law does not account for the job title or duties of the harasser, so misconduct by any person within the workplace environment may still constitute sexual harassment. If the offender is your boss, you may bring the behavior to the attention of his or her immediate superior or another person within your company.
Can I be fired for bringing a sexual harassment claim?
Your employer cannot retaliate in any way against you for filing a charge of sexual harassment, so you cannot be fired or overlooked for promotion by bringing a complaint.
A Maryland Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help
You do have rights as an employee who’s experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and there are options to protect your interests. However, you need to take appropriate action for filing a complaint and pursuing the matter under Maryland and federal law. The team of lawyers at The Casper Firm has both the legal knowledge and experience to help you with filing a complaint, and will go the distance to fight for your rights. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation or with questions about your case.