Sexual harassment victims have it really tough. They often lose their jobs after the harassment. If they threaten to take legal action, it results in loss of jobs or retribution in some other form. They often experience slander. It also becomes difficult for them to find meaningful employment after harm is done to their reputation. They may feel isolated in the workplace. But there are laws in place to help the victims. You can seek legal action against your employer.
Here are the steps to take if you are a victim of sexual harassment.
Hire an attorney ASAP
If you are a sexual harassment victim, you need to hire an attorney without delay. But not any attorney will do. You will need to hire an experienced sexual harassment attorney who practices in your local area.
Sexual harassment laws are not the same in every state. There may be some differences. So, you need to consult a professional who has experience and expertise in dealing with legal matters in your state. For instance, in California; you cannot sue your supervisor for sexual harassment. You will need to file the lawsuit against the employer only. You may be able to take other legal actions against the supervisor though. But only an attorney can provide you with this type of information.
Ask for referrals from friends and family or search online for local law firms. Check the websites of attorneys to find out their experience level and expertise in the area of sexual harassment. Choose 2-3 attorneys based on their profiles.
Go for a legal consultation
Most attorneys offer free case assessment consultations to all prospective clients. So, book your sessions with the attorneys you have identified based on their profiles.
During the consultations, discuss your case in detail with each attorney. Let them know if you have any proof of the harassment or anyone who can act as the witness on your behalf.
The attorneys will tell you the legal actions you can take. If you are keen on filing a claim, the attorneys will tell you about the process of doing so. If the claim is denied, you have the option to take the case to trial. It is not easy to fight sexual harassment suits. Things can get nasty as the employer may retaliate with foul play. So, having a good sexual harassment attorney by your side can be extremely helpful.
File the claim
It is best to file the claim if you really want to take legal action against your employer for sexual harassment. The attorney will take care of the paperwork and the legal formalities. The attorney will also handle negotiations with the employer’s legal team. These discussions can get heated; something only an experienced attorney can handle.
The employer is likely to deny all charges mentioned in the lawsuit. The opposing counsel will also try to negotiate for a lower payout in case they decide to pay the compensation. Once your attorney files the claim on your behalf, you can sit back until any resolution is reached.
Go to trial
In serious or complicated cases of sexual harassment, claims are often denied. The only option then is to go to trial. If you really want justice, your attorney can help you. Your attorney will represent you in court. Once the paperwork is filed for the trial, expect anything.
To prepare for the trial, your attorney will collect evidences in one place (provided you have any). The attorney will try to convince the witnesses (if any) to come forward and testify on your behalf in court. The convincing witness is a difficult task. They may fear losing their jobs. Your employer may also ask your colleagues to testify against you. The employer is in a position to threaten employees to do so. Some may even agree to it. So, be prepared to hear massive lies by the opposing party.
An experienced attorney will be able to handle such things well. These types of behavior and slander are common when it comes to sexual harassment cases. But as a victim, you need to be strong through it and stay steadfast to get justice for yourself.