Detroit Management Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a traumatic, humiliating, and infuriating experience for those on the receiving end, no matter who the harasser is. But when the behavior comes from a supervisor, manager, or another person in a position of authority, it is particularly egregious. Employees who endure sexual harassment by individuals who hold power over their jobs and livelihoods not only deal with the offensive acts and comments themselves but also face the difficult challenge of risking their careers and reputations by calling out the harassment.
In the #MeToo era, we know the damage caused when authority figures wield their power to get away with inappropriate, inexcusable, and illegal conduct. Every day at work becomes a living hell, and every effort to make the harassment stop can be fraught with peril. That is why victims of sexual harassment by management need and deserve representation by attorneys who recognize the difficulties and trauma they face and who have the experience and commitment to hold the wrongdoers to account.
The employment attorneys at Sommers Schwartz stand up for those who suffer harassment at the hands of those who abuse their positions. We understand the federal and state laws that govern sexual harassment and have the advocacy skills to expose the misconduct, end the harassment, and obtain compensation for employees who summon the courage to speak up and say “Enough.”
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment by Supervisors and Managers?
Workplace sexual harassment by supervisors, managers, and other superiors is a form of prohibited sex discrimination under state and federal law. It is generally defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other statements or acts of a sexual nature that explicitly or implicitly affect a person’s employment, interferes with their work performance, or creates a hostile work environment.
When the harasser is someone in a supervisory role, sexual harassment typically falls into two broad categories: statements and actions that create a hostile work environment and those that involve a “quid pro quo.”
The former refers to harassment by a manager or supervisor that is so severe, consistent, or pervasive that it creates a work environment that a reasonable employee would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. The latter involves a request or demand by the superior for sexual favors in exchange for promotions, raises, and other employment opportunities or as a condition of continued employment.
Common examples of prohibited sexual harassment by management include:
- Propositions for sex in exchange for benefits.
- Being fired or punished for refusing an advance.
- Touching, rubbing, or other unwanted contact.
- Inappropriate texts, photos, emails, or messages.
- Leering or staring.
- Exposure of genitals or other body parts.
- Sexually explicit or pornographic images and videos.
- Rude or overtly sexual comments about someone’s body.
The Unique Challenges Employees Face When Harassed by a Superior
When an employee’s tormentor is also their boss or someone else who exerts control over their job, decisions about how and whether to report the harassment can be difficult. If the employee does nothing, the abuse and misconduct will likely continue and perhaps worsen. But if the victim chooses to call out the harassment by reporting it to HR or others charged with addressing sexual harassment complaints, they face the prospect of retaliation by the very individual they are charging with illegal conduct. This is the case even though retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is also against the law.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employees who experience sexual harassment fail to report the behavior or file a complaint because they anticipate and fear:
- Disbelief of their claim.
- Inaction on their claim.
- Being blamed for causing the offending actions.
- Social retaliation.
- Professional retaliation.
Employers Can Be Liable for Inaction
An employer is liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in an adverse employment action such as termination, failure to hire or promote, and losing wages. If the supervisor’s harassment creates a hostile work environment, the employer can also be held liable if it did not prevent or promptly stop the harassing behavior.
Victims of workplace sexual harassment by management and superiors have a host of remedies available to them, including the recovery of compensation, if they can prove their claims about both the harassment and their employer’s failure to take legally required steps to respond to their complaints.
If you have experienced or continue to endure sexual harassment by one of your managers or supervisors, we welcome the opportunity to help you end such mistreatment and vindicate your rights under the law. Please contact Sommers Schwartz today to arrange for a free consultation with one of our employment law attorneys.