Oklahoma Sexual Harassment Attorney
“Sexual harassment” refers to any type of unwanted sexual advances, sexual favor requests, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can also refer to unsavory actions or comments based on a person’s sex. At work, an action becomes harassment if it creates a hostile or offensive working environment. Victims of sexual harassment in Oklahoma have multiple laws on their side. With help from the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill Law in Tulsa, victims can shed light on harassment in the workplace and seek retribution and damage recovery.
State and Federal Sexual Harassment Laws
Oklahoma law defines “harassment” as any action or statement relating to a person’s protected class. This can include offensive remarks, physical assaults, sexual behaviors, inappropriate comments, graphic materials, slurs, or stereotypes based on an individual’s sex. The law does not make offhand comments, teasing, or isolated incidents (that aren’t very serious) illegal, but those that occur regularly or intensely enough to create an environment of harassment are against the law. Additionally, an action may technically be sexual harassment if it results in an adverse employment decision.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the main federal entity in charge of sexual harassment and discrimination laws in the workplace. The laws under the EEOC are the same as those mentioned in Oklahoma’s state statutes. The EEOC states that men and women can be victims of sexual harassment, and that harassment can come from supervisors, managers, owners, coworkers, or customers in the workplace. After a sexual harassment incident at work, it is the EEOC that receives initial employee complaints and investigates the problem.
Your Rights as a Victim of Sexual Harassment
If someone is sexually harassing you at work, start documenting your experiences. Keep a journal of all harassment incidents, with dates, times, and a description of what happened. If there were any witnesses, write their names down as well. Keep your notes in a safe place, where the harasser can’t take or destroy them. Then, report your experiences to authorities within your workplace. This may be a manager or human resources department. Explain what’s going on, and show any evidence you may have gathered.
Follow your company’s sexual harassment policy, if it has one. The law requires you to report sexual harassment within your workplace before you can sue the company. Filing a written report instead of telling your story orally can serve as evidence that you made the complaint with the proper party. Legally, your employer only has to make the harassment stop at this point. The employer does not have to fire the harasser.
Next, file a complaint with the EEOC. You can do this on your own, online, or contact an attorney for assistance. You typically have 180-300 days after the incident to file your EEOC complaint. The EEOC will investigate your claim, and may or may not take action against the employer depending on what it finds. Finally, contact a good employment lawyer in Oklahoma. The team at Bryan & Terrill Law can help you put an end to sexual harassment, hold the harasser (and/or your employer) liable, and help you seek retribution for damages. Contact us today.
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