Ohio Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Nobody is allowed to sexually harass you at work, whether the harasser is a co-worker, a customer, your boss, or even the owner of the company. If you are facing sexual harassment at work, the Ohio sexual harassment lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius LLC have represented someone in your shoes before.
Is my employer liable for harassment?
A critical threshold question in sexual harassment cases is whether the harasser is a “supervisor.” But that term is a little misleading because it has a very specific meaning. Under a 2013 Supreme Court ruling, the term refers to an individual who has the authority to take “tangible employment actions against the victim.” Vance v. Ball State Univ., 133 S. Ct. 2434, 2443 (2013). In turn, a “tangible employment action” is defined by the Supreme Court as a “significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits.” Id. at 2442. Of course, many employees who supervise others will not have the authority to fire, hire, and take other significant employment actions towards employees. As a result, they are not deemed “supervisors” for purposes of a sexual harassment case.
In general, if a harasser is a “supervisor,” it’s much easier to hold employers accountable for the harassment. If the harasser is not a “supervisor,” the employee will usually need to prove the employer should have known the harassment might occur. We’ll explain more about that in the next section…
What is evidence of sexual harassment?
Many sexual harassment cases involve what’s known as a “hostile environment.” If you’ve read this far, you won’t be surprised to learn that the standard for liability in these cases depends on who the harasser is.
If the harasser is a supervisor, the employer will be liable unless it proves an affirmative defense known as the Faragher/Ellerth defense. The employer must show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassing behavior, and that the victim unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities that were provided.
In cases where the harasser is a co-worker, customer, client, or anyone else who is not a “supervisor,” a different standard of employer liability applies. In those situations, the employee must prove the employer was “negligent” in permitting the harassment to occur or failing to stop it. The negligence standard can be more difficult to prove for sexual harassment victims.
There are several ways to show the employer was negligent. For example, showing the employer does not have a sexual harassment policy or has an ineffective sexual harassment policy. But the single best evidence of negligence in sexual harassment cases is finding proof the company did nothing when it got a prior complaint against the harasser. If there was one in your case, the sexual harassment lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius will find it.
The bottom line is that whether an employer will be liable is a technical legal question. It takes skilled sexual harassment lawyers to find the evidence you’ll need to prove your case.
Ohio sexual harassment attorneys for you
No matter who the harasser is, the best way to protect yourself is to report it. If nothing else, because of the differing standards of employer liability, failing to report might mean you won’t be able to recover. But there are many other reasons why victims of sexual harassment should speak up when they are being harassed.
If you think you are alone, you aren’t. The Ohio sexual harassment lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius have helped someone in your situation before. If you’re ready to stand up to sexual harassment at work, we might be able to help you too. Contact us today for a free consultation.