Sexual harassment was once something that was overlooked and even condoned in many environments. Of course, it wasn’t always considered harassment. Sexual comments and innuendo were once treated as a healthy display of libido and perfectly natural. Sexual harassment today is not only considered inappropriate conduct; it’s also illegal. For victims of sexual harassment or abuse, the emotional and physical effects on their health and well-being is often serious and life impacting, and the law today provides both criminal and well as civil remedies.
Legal Remedies for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Abuse
A recent ‘rape’ lawsuit against Florida State University shines a spotlight on legal remedies for victims of sexual harassment and abuse. A former student alleges the school violated her rights under Title IX to be protected against sexual harassment and violence on campus by failing to investigate her accusations of assault against the school’s star quarterback. She’s filed a civil lawsuit against the school. Despite Florida State’s efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed, a district judge denied their motion, instead supporting the rights of the victim to pursue damages in the case.
In the workplace, employees are protected against sexual harassment and abuse under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act. Types of sexual harassment and abuse employees may be entitled to legal recourse for include:
- Sexual advances and requests for sexual favors;
- Quid pro quo, or offering favors, raises or promotions in return for a sexual relationship;
- Displaying or distributing online sexually explicit or degrading content;
- Physical contact of a sexual nature, such as grabbing, fondling, or grinding;
- Making sexual comments that threaten, humiliate or demean employees; and
- Threatening an employee’s position, pay, or benefits for resisting sexual overtures.
Whether the harassment or abuse comes from a superior or fellow worker, employers can find themselves facing lawsuits and paying awards of compensatory as well as punitive damages.
Injuries Caused by Sexual Harassment and Abuse
Though men as well as women can be victims of sexual harassment and abuse, the rate of occurrence is generally higher among women. The National Women’s Law Center reports that surveys show that over half of female workers have experienced some sort of sexual intimidation or harassment on their jobs. The physical and emotional harm from sexual harassment and abuse includes:
- Anxiety and depression;
- Sleep disturbances, nightmares, and insomnia;
- Chronic headaches;
- Digestive disorders;
- Drastic weight loss or gain; and
- Stress-related disorders.
In addition to the health ramifications, sexual abuse and harassment can have a disastrous effect on the victim’s finances. Increased sick days, being passed over for promotions, job transfers and firings all amount to significant amounts in financial losses.
Contact Hogan Frick Law
If you or someone you care about is a victim of sexual harassment or abuse, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we understand the sensitive nature surrounding the situation. We offer compassionate, caring service combined with aggressive legal representation. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we’ll fight for your rights to compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Get the help you need and call the attorneys at Hogan Frick Law for a free, confidential case review today.