Sexual Harassment Attorney in Charleston, WV
Sexual Harassment in the West Virginia Workplace
No one should have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have been the target of unwanted sexual advances or have been forced to work in a hostile work environment, the Charleston sexual harassment attorneys at Warner Law Offices, PLLC can help you seek justice.
Since 2000, we have been standing up for the rights of workers throughout the state of West Virginia. Our team prioritizes client service, responding quickly to all inquiries and providing clear, honest communication throughout the legal process. When you choose to work with Warner Law Offices, PLLC, you can trust our attorneys to fight tirelessly for you and the justice you deserve.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can take a variety of forms. A supervisor may offer advancement or withhold benefits in exchange for sexual favors. A manager or co-worker may force physical conduct. Co-workers may make unwanted advances or display sexually suggestive images, creating a hostile work environment. Some actions or comments that are not necessarily sexual in nature nor directed at a single person can still be considered sexual harassment. For example, if a co-worker makes repeated negative comments about women, this could be considered sexual harassment.
Some common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
- Sexual assault, including physical contact
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwanted touching and unwelcome sexual advances
- Talking about sexual encounters, stories, relations, fantasies, etc.
- Having, sharing, or distributing sexually explicit emails, photos, text messages, etc.
- Performing solitary sexual acts or exposing oneself
- Pressuring another person to engage in sexual activity/conduct
- Verbal sexual harassment, such as joking about sexual activities or sexual orientation
- Talking about sexual encounters, stories, relations, fantasies, etc. Making the conditions of employment contingent on implied or expressed sexual favors
It is important to distinguish between sexual harassment, which violates civil laws, and sexual assault, which is a crime. While those who commit sexual harassment may not face criminal charges, you still have a right to take action and hold the offending party accountable.
Fighting for the Justice You Deserve in West Virginia
Sexual harassment in the workplace can lead to an array of negative effects. Victims may experience significant physical and emotional injury, including humiliation, fear, guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), heightened stress, and more. They may also suffer financial harm as a result of the harassment or reporting the harassment and being retaliated against by an employer.
At Warner Law Offices, PLLC, we believe that sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace is never acceptable. Our Charleston sexual harassment attorneys can help you fight for justice and work to recover fair compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. If you believe your employer has retaliated against you, we can help you seek to hold them accountable.
Regardless of the particular circumstances, it is important that you act quickly to protect your interests. The sooner our attorneys can begin investigating and building your claim, the better. We can help you understand your rights and options and can also ensure that you take appropriate actions to preserve your legal claims; it is absolutely essential to document incidents and create a record of the situation.
Understanding Your Rights
While West Virginia law does not criminalize sexual harassment, both state and federal civil laws prohibit sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 classifies sexual harassment as a type of discrimination on the basis of sex.
As such, sexual harassment is prohibited by federal law in the following settings:
- Businesses with at least 15 employees
- Labor organizations
- Employment agencies
- Government (including federal, state, and local) offices
Additionally, West Virginia law offers protection to individuals employed in education, including lower-level schools and colleges. Furthermore, the state recognizes that sexual harassment is not always physical; hostile and/or aggressive behavior that is based on sex or gender, or which is sexual in nature regardless of physical touch, can be classified as sexual harassment under state law.
As a worker, you have the right to report sexual harassment to your employer (or another appropriate party) without the fear of retaliation. This means your employer cannot discriminate against you, withhold promotions or benefits, reduce your wages, pass you over for work opportunities, fire you, or take any other retaliatory action against you for reporting the harassment. You employer also cannot protect the offending party or harbor a hostile work environment.
Request a Free, Confidential Consultation Today
Our attorneys are well-versed in federal and state employment laws and can answer any questions you may have during a complimentary consultation. We are proud to represent employees, independent contractors, and other workers from across a broad range of industries throughout West Virginia, providing the detailed legal representation and dedicated advocacy they need.