Sexual Harrassment Attorney
Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Pasadena, Baytown, Atascocita Lawyer
Most employees are "employees-at-will," which means that an employer can discharge the employee with or without notice at any time for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason. Both federal and state laws exist which have changed the doctrine of employment-at-will and provide employee protections in some situations.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment)--if an employee works for an employer with 15 or more employees. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 allows jury trials and the possibility of mental anguish and punitive damages totaling up to $300,000 for intentional acts of discrimination. Title VII also protects employees from retaliation for opposing any unlawful employment discriminatory practice or for making a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in a discrimination investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
Title VII claims must be filed under oath (and subject to potential perjury charges if factually untrue) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) before a lawsuit can be filed. Title VII claims in Texas must be filed with the EEOC within 300 days of the date of the discriminatory or retaliatory conduct about which the employee is complaining. Texas has anti-discriminatory statutes in Chapter 21 of its Labor Code which are modeled after Title VII. These claims are filed with the TWC instead of the EEOC, but must be filed within 180 days after the complained about discrimination. Good employment lawyers who understand how the state and federal laws work and the subtle differences between the two usually help clients file both state and federal claims within 180 days of the unlawful employment practice so that a lawsuit can later be filed in either state or federal court. Once a complaint is filed in writing, with either the EEOC or TWC, an investigation is conducted. There may be an attempt at mediation to settle the claim early in the process. If the case is not settled, the investigating body (EEOC or TWC) will issue a notice of right to sue letter or a finding that there is either cause or no cause to believe discrimination has occurred. In only 5-6% of all complaints, does the EEOC find cause to believe discrimination has occurred. If there is a cause finding, the EEOC will then try to get the parties to conciliate (settle) the matter. If no settlement occurs at this time, a notice of right to sue letter is issued. Whenever the EEOC issues a right to sue letter, the worker has 90 days to file a lawsuit. When the TWC issues a right to sue letter, the worker has only 60 days to file a lawsuit.
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex. Although sexual harassment more often occurs to women, it can happen to men as well. The two most grievous forms of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
"Quid pro quo" means "this for that." In this case, the employer demands sexual favors in return for promotions or even just keeping your current job. A hostile work environment is found where behavior occurs that the victim finds offensive and would be found offensive by a reasonable person. Such behavior includes unwanted or unnecessary touching, verbal comments, or any other behavior that is found to be offensive.
Workplace Racial Harassment
There is no excuse for racial harassment. Likewise, there is no reason to put up with racial harassment. Racial harassment includes any verbal or physical conduct towards an individual because of his or her race, color, or national origin. This behavior must be so persistent that it creates a hostile work environment.
If you or a family member has been the victim of racial or sexual harassment in the workplace, hire an experienced lawyer to investigate your claim. Bush Lewis' Beaumont sexual harassment lawyers are experienced in all areas of employment law, including workplace harassment litigation. Call Ken Lewis today at 409-835-3521, or Email us. Serving residents throughout Texas including Orange, Beaumont, Pasadena, Baytown, Atascocita and Port Arthur.