Evanston Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual harassment remains prevalent in the workplace. Victims often feel that they have nowhere to turn, and that enduring the harassment is better than trying to find a new job or risking termination.
The Law Offices of Ross J. Peters, Ltd. helps Evanston, IL employees stand up to sexual harassment in the workplace and receive the compensation that they deserve. Attorney Ross J. Peters has been recognized as a top lawyer among his peers, and he is experienced in all matters related to sexual harassment law. For years, our firm has diligently represented victims of sexual harassment before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights and in court.
Understanding Sexual Harassment
As defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act, sexual harassment is any unwelcome request for sexual favors, sexual advances, or any conduct of a sexual nature when:
- submission to the sexually related conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of working at the company; or,
- submission to or rejection of the sexually related conduct by an individual forms the basis for employment decisions that affect the individual; or,
- the sexually related conduct substantially interferes with an individual's work performance or creates a working environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive.
While each case is different, there are certain types of conduct that are often associated with sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Physical conduct (touching, assault, battery, impeding or blocking movement)
- Verbal conduct (making /using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs and “jokes”)
- Submission to or rejection of sexual harassment being used as a basis for employment decisions
- Sexual imposition
- Seductive behavior
- Sexual bribery
Sexual harassment does not always take the form of a male superior harassing a female subordinate employee: victims and harassers can be either male or female, and victims can be the same gender as their harasser. Sexual harassment in the workplace is generally seen in two scenarios: hostile work environments and quid pro quo.
Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Scenarios
A hostile work environment is an environment which is made oppressive due to sexual conduct. In a hostile work environment scenario, the actions of the employee’s coworkers and the complacency of the employer can form the basis of a sexual harassment claim. For example, an employer that allows other employees to openly voice derogatory sexual statements about female coworkers would likely face a hostile work environment claim. A hostile work environment can be caused by co-workers or supervisors/management.
“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that means “something for something.” In sexual harassment situations, one example of quid pro quo is when someone in a supervisory role makes a sexually related demand or request to a subordinate in connection with either a positive or negative employment action. Positive employment actions include promoting an employee, hiring an applicant, or giving an employee a raise or other special benefit. Negative employment actions include reducing an employee’s hours, a demotion, threats, or terminating an employee. A supervisor’s threat to reduce an employee’s hours if the employee refuses to go to dinner with the supervisor would likely amount to quid pro quo sexual harassment. It is important to understand that the employer’s proposed action need not be explicit – a threat to “make your days at the office much more difficult” can also amount to sexual harassment.
Do Not Wait to Contact an Evanston Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Your career and financial well-being should never be threatened by unlawful sexual conduct. If you are an employee in the Evanston area, and you believe that you may be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is vital that you quickly seek legal counsel. Illinois law requires that you bring a sexual harassment claim against your employer within a certain period of time. Attorney Ross J. Peters is intimately familiar with litigating sexual harassment cases and will diligently advocate on your behalf. Please contact our firm to learn more about how we may be able to help.