Sexual Harassment Lawyers in St. Louis
There are many great companies to work for in the St. Louis area. Unfortunately, no workplace or industry is immune from sexual harassment or discrimination. At the Dixon Injury Firm, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers have represented workplace sexual harassment and discrimination victims in the healthcare, finance, hospitality, technology, and industrial sectors, as well as many others.
It doesn’t matter if you work for the City of St. Louis, Wells Fargo, the U.S. Postal Service, the St. Louis Board of Education, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University, Saint Louis University, Walmart Stores, Inc., or St. Louis Children’s Hospital, you deserve justice if you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment.
Dixon Injury Firm Wins $30 Million Sexual Assault Case
The Dixon Injury Firm recently represented a minor against a former U.S. attorney involving inappropriate sexual conduct. Unfortunately, this case is a prime example of the misuse of authority and control far too common in society today. The judge ordered the defendant in the case to pay punitive damages to show society that it would not tolerate the conduct demonstrated by the former U.S. attorney. The plaintiff received $30 million in damages.
When you hire the Dixon Injury Firm, you will receive the same care and skill provided to this plaintiff. Our compassionate St. Louis sexual harassment lawyers take your case seriously, listening to every detail to learn what we can do to help. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting for justice on your behalf. Whether your sexual harassment case is against another attorney, a co-worker, supervisor, manager, or CEO, we aren’t afraid to stand up for your rights.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), workplace sexual harassment is “unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”
Harassment becomes unlawful when one or both of these conditions apply:
- Putting up with the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment.
- The harassment is so severe or pervasive that it creates a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
It’s illegal to harass someone, whether an applicant or an employee, because of their gender.
Under federal and state laws, harassment includes:
- Sexual harassment
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
Harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual. It can include offensive remarks about someone’s gender. For instance, it’s illegal to harass a woman by making aggressive comments about women in general. Both sexual harassment victim and their harasser can be either a man or a woman, and the victim and harasser can be of the same or opposite sex.
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a coworker, or someone not employed by the employer, such as a customer or client.
It’s essential to note that federal and state laws don’t forbid simple teasing, offhand remarks, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious. However, harassment is illegal when it’s done so frequently or severely that it produces a hostile or offensive work environment or when it causes an adverse employment decision. For example, it ends up with the victim being demoted or fired.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment can take on many shapes and forms. Some are obvious, but others might not be.
Common examples of workplace sexual harassment include:
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images, items, or videos with co-workers
- Sending sexually suggestive notes, letters, or emails
- Exhibiting inappropriate sexual pictures or posters in the workplace
- Telling lewd jokes or sharing sexually explicit anecdotes
- Making sexual gestures
- Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive way
- Making sexual remarks about body parts, appearance, or clothing
- Unwelcome touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another individual
- Displays of sexual objects
- Requests for sexual favors
- Asking sexual questions, for instance, about someone’s sexual orientation or sexual history
- Making aggressive comments about someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation
On the other hand, examples of gender or sexual discrimination include:
- Hiring or firing someone based on their gender
- Only promoting or giving raises to employees of one gender
- Threatening to fire or refusing to give a raise to someone unless they perform a sexual favor
Sexual Harassment’s Impact on the Workplace
Most notably is sexual harassment’s human impact within the company. Sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment for everyone, making workers feel unwelcome, unsafe, intimidated, or threatened. Even if an individual isn’t the target of sexual harassment, being a bystander has consequences.
A company must be upfront and clear about its anti-sexual harassment attitude. Tolerating any type of harassment, bullying, or otherwise inappropriate conduct can encourage similar poor behavior amid other employees, eventually leading to a workplace culture of harassment and toxicity. Ultimately, it will give rise to low employee self-esteem, mental health issues, and widespread worker discontent.
The second concern is the economic impact that sexual harassment behaviors can have on a workplace, which is often extreme. Far too many employers underestimate how much sexual harassment can cost—both literally and figuratively. While anti-harassment training and awareness programs aren’t free, they pale in comparison to how much a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination can cost an organization in the long run.
A hostile work environment can make it harder for employees to focus on their jobs. Sexual harassment can grow, making it a distraction for everyone in the office—not simply the victim(s). If the problems aren’t resolved right away, victims could suffer depression, anxiety, or panic attacks that only further restrict their ability to work. While management may not think about it, decreased productivity from sexual harassment could cost a business thousands of dollars in labor, production, and lost opportunities.
Human Resource Problems
Failing to prevent or deal with sexual harassment problems in the workplace often leads to the victim leaving their job and others also leaving in protest or solidarity. The average cost of hiring and training one new employee in 2021 was around $4,129 in turnover costs alone.
Companies with a reputation for allowing or ignoring sexual harassment may have difficulty finding qualified job applicants to hire. Without dealing with the root cause of the issue, a business can anticipate further recruiting and retention problems in the future.
Workplace sexual harassment is against federal and state law. If an employer reasonably could have taken action to prevent and stop sexual harassment or respond to an employee’s complaint, the business might face legal action for its transgression.
For example, a lawsuit for sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, or retaliation could end up costing an organization millions of dollars in:
- Legal fees
- Court costs
- Attorney fees
- Damages owed to the victim in a settlement or jury verdict
A history of discounting or encouraging sexual harassment in the workplace will most likely negatively impact a company’s brand. If word gets out to the public, such as from sexual harassment litigation or a former worker leaving a negative review on a hiring website—the company might pay with their profit margin.
The informed public is less likely to support a business that has a history of harassing, abusing, or mistreating its employees or tolerating such behaviors. Sadly, a poor reputation from sexual harassment issues could be enough to cause a business to go out of business.
Being the target of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace raises many questions and concerns. You may feel alone or not know what to do next. At the Dixon Injury Firm, we don’t want you to feel alone. Answers are available, and we can begin by providing you with some right here. Your next step is to call our firm and speak with a seasoned St. Louis sexual harassment lawyer about the specifics of your situation. You can schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation to review your potential claim.
Can Your Employer Punish You for Complaining About Sexual Harassment?
No, you are protected if you file a complaint. If an employer retaliates against you for making a sexual harassment complaint to management, it’s against the law and is a separate violation of Title VII, in addition to the sexual harassment itself. Be sure to discuss any potential retaliation with your St. Louis sexual harassment lawyer. If you are filing a grievance or complaint, don’t forget to include any retaliatory actions your employer may have taken.
Retaliatory measures might include:
- Firing you
- Demoting you
- Moving you to a different location or division
- Decreasing your salary
- Denying you a raise you were entitled to receive
- Inflicting additional harassment
What Kind of Injury Do I Have to Suffer Before I Have a Legal Claim for Sexual Harassment?
You don’t have to be fired, demoted, or suffer any economic, physical, or psychological injuries before you have grounds to bring a claim for sexual harassment. Having to endure sexual harassment at your job is injury enough—it’s discrimination and illegal; that’s all that is necessary to have a legal claim.
There’s also no specific degree of sexual harassment or the minimum number of times the harassment must have occurred for you to have a valid lawsuit.
Should You Quit Your Job?
It may be tempting to quit your job or do something else that could jeopardize your case. However, it’s in your best interest to follow the proper procedures, doing all you can to strengthen your case. Retaliation in any form, quitting your job, or acting out could reduce your ability to take your case to court. Speak with an attorney for further advice on your specific situation, although it’s best to remain calm and work as you usually would.
Can You Sue Your Employer for Sexual Harassment?
You have the right to sue your employer for sexual harassment or sexual assault violations. However, there are things you can do to address sexual harassment in the workplace that not only significantly increase the chances of stopping the behavior but are also necessary steps toward filing a lawsuit.
Every situation is different, but it’s generally best to follow these steps:
- If possible, confront the perpetrator and ask them to stop
- Follow your company guidelines for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination
- Report the behavior to your human resources department
- Keep detailed records about the harassment—be sure to include who, when, where, and what
- Report the harassment to a government agency—either the EEOC or the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR)
Suppose the agency you reported the sexual harassment to determines that your complaint is valid and can’t resolve the issue with the offender. In that case, they will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue. The notice is a document that states that the agency has found the allegations to be valid and that you may proceed with litigation if you so choose.
It’s also best to retain the services of a well-versed St. Louis sexual harassment attorney early on in this process. Your attorney can ensure you do everything as it’s supposed to be done, not skipping any steps or leaving out any vital details.
Reach out to an Experienced St. Louis Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
If you believe you are suffering from sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, time is of the essence. You must meet several deadlines to exercise your legal rights. Start by contacting a knowledgeable St. Louis sexual harassment attorney from The Dixon Injury Firm.
Call us today at (314) 208-2808 or contact us online. We take the time to truly listen and understand your concerns. We know how disconcerting sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace can be. We proudly stand up for your rights no matter who your employer is. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you exercise your legal rights and get the harassment and discrimination to stop.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132