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Harassment

Worcester Employment Harassment Law Firm Fighting for Victims Rights

sexual harassmentNo one deserves to feel uncomfortable, objectified, or harassed in the place where they work. Jobs and careers are challenging enough without having to worry about sexual harassment.

But despite living in the 21st century, employees still face sexual harassment in the workplace throughout Massachusetts and across the United States. The harassment may take many forms, including pats on the back, offensive comments, unfavorable treatment, or offensive jokes.

This harassment is typically based on gender, race, national origin, age, or disability.

Those who engage in sexual harassment sometimes dismiss it as innocent or harmless. They might even blame the victim. But there is never any excuse. Sexual harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. Contacting an experienced Worcester Employment Harassment Law Firm to discuss your situation is an important step.

Victims of sexual harassment respond differently. Some may feel angry, while others are scared or confused. It’s not uncommon to be unsure as to whether what you’re facing really reaches the level of “harassment.”

Unfortunately, many victims decide to quietly accept the behavior, perhaps out of fear for their job security, social embarrassment, or employer retaliation.

Before you give up and resign yourself to continued harassment, contact us to explore your legal options.  No employee should be exposed to a harassing workplace.  MA Employment Lawyers will fight to end the harassment and to help you get the money you deserve. We are a proven and experienced Worcester Employment Harassment Law Firm that will stand by your side and fight for you.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment

There is no one-size-fits-all description of sexual harassment. Context is important. However, the law typically recognizes two broad categories of sexual harassment in the workplace:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment – This is where an employer, supervisor, or manager asks for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, benefit, or employment opportunity. A single instance of quid pro quo harassment is usually sufficient to support a claim for sexual harassment in Massachusetts.

Hostile Work Environment –  This is where comments, contact, or other workplace conditions were so hostile, intimidating, or offensive to the victim, that they adversely affected the employee’s ability to do their job (and the employer either knew about it or should have known about it). Victims usually need to show an ongoing pattern of harassment to support a claim for a hostile work environment.

Common examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors (which may include implication, as opposed to outright demands)
  • Comments, questions, or jokes that have offensive or sexual implications
  • Sexual innuendo
  • Threats or bribes related to sex or gender
  • Sexist conversation such as ranking the women in the office by sexual appeal or “rating” an employee’s looks or sexual attractiveness
  • Repeatedly asking an employee out on dates / not taking “no” for an answer
  • Invasive personal questions related to sex or gender
  • An unwanted neck or shoulder massage
  • Touching (such as pats on the back, touching the legs or lower back, inappropriate hugging, tickling, unwanted brushing, etc.)

Does Sexual Harassment Have to Be Sexual?

No. Harassment based on gender, as opposed to sex or sexuality, may also constitute sexual harassment in Massachusetts.

What Is NOT Sexual Harassment?

Not all offensive or inappropriate conduct reaches the legal definition of “sexual harassment.” Courts have held that minor or offhand comments, general teasing, and certain types of casual jokes do not constitute harassment. Isolated incidents usually aren’t enough either (unless they involve physical contact, quid pro quo harassment, or are otherwise of a serious nature).

If you’ve been harassed, it might be hard for you to know whether your situation qualifies for a sexual harassment claim. Please don’t assume that you don’t have a case until you’ve talked with an experienced Massachusetts employment attorney. You may have more options than you realize.

Who Can Be a Victim of Sexual Harassment?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, including both men and women. State and federal law recognize sexual harassment:

  • By men against men
  • By men against women
  • By women against men
  • By women against women

The law also recognizes transgender harassment, including harassment or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Contact MA Employment Lawyers Today

If you believe you have been sexually harassed in Massachusetts, the Worcester Employment Harassment Law Firm of MA Employment Lawyers is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us get to work for you