Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Las Vegas
In Nevada, you have the right to work in an environment that is free of discrimination. One kind of discrimination you should never have to tolerate is based on sex. Whatever gender you identify with and any characteristics particular to that gender cannot be the basis for disparate treatment. Nor do you, or should you, have to endure unwanted comments, solicitations, or touching that are inappropriate and offensive.
The workplace sexual harassment lawyers at Paul Padda Law know all too well that sexual discrimination and harassment are far too prevalent in many workplaces around Las Vegas. We are committed to helping bring fairness and respect to the workplaces in our community. Call us today at (702) 366-1888 and let us bring justice to your workplace.
Sexual Harassment In Las Vegas Is A Major Problem
While society often views sexual harassment as a moral and legal issue, it’s equally a business problem. With women accounting for a significant percentage of the American workforce, sexual harassment can sap the morale and productivity of the best and brightest workers and bring unwanted liability and embarrassment to corporate boardrooms. Smart businesses understand this and have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. Indeed, businesses that value their workforce and demand excellence from their management staff recognize that sexual harassment is like a virus that can infect and destroy an entire organization.
While men still retain most of the workplace supervisory positions and are often the ones deciding whether or not a complaint of sexual harassment is justified, female supervisors can often turn a blind eye to an inappropriate situation thereby making it worse. In a male dominated world, many female supervisors do not want to “rock the boat” and therefore go along to get along thereby compounding the problem.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, only 5-15% of harassed women formally report problems of harassment to their employers (suggesting that the problem is much larger than society might expect). One can speculate why the numbers are so low but common-sense dictates that most women are probably fearful of retaliation, ridicule, fear of not being believed, belief that nothing will happen to stop the harassment and fear of being accused by co-workers of inviting the harassment.
In Las Vegas, sexual harassment is a growing and pernicious problem. With a reputation for decadence, even branding itself “Sin City,” Las Vegas fosters an attitude where people feel free to do things they may never do elsewhere. With a “throw caution to the wind” attitude, many people feel free to engage in sexual harassment in the workplace. What they don’t realize, however, is that laws exist in this state to protect victims of sexual harassment. Within the last decade, there have been many more cases of sexual harassment filed in the courts and there’s been a real awakening by government leaders and the public at large that sexual harassment should not be tolerated. Employees are also becoming emboldened to speak their truth and resist sexual harassment. At Paul Padda Law, we handle cases of this kind routinely and have obtained outstanding results for our clients. Call us today at (702) 366-1888 or contact us through this website.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Under both state and federal law, sexual harassment includes unwanted and offensive behavior by someone in a work environment toward another that is either sexual in nature or discriminatory because of gender. Sexual harassment can occur between opposite-sex persons or between two people of the same sex. Sexual harassment can include the following types of behavior:
- Unwelcome touching
- Comments about sex or gender – derogatory jokes
- Solicitations for sex
- Sexually explicit communications or displays via email, text or other media
- Unfair treatment based on gender or rejection of sexual advances
Not all conduct that may be unwelcome rises to the level of sexual harassment. The behavior must be significant enough to have a substantial negative impact on your ability to perform your work responsibilities. Conduct that is considered to be sexual harassment falls into one of two legal categories.
Quid Pro Quo – This is where someone with more authority wants something sexually inappropriate in exchange for something that affects your employment status – “you give me this, I give you that.” In other words, conditioning an employment benefit in exchange for a sexual act. An employer can be strictly liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has stated that “employers are held strictly accountable if they place in positions of authority persons who extract sexual favors from those over whom they exercise power.” In other words, the fact that the employer does not know of the supervisor’s harassing conduct is irrelevant to the issue of liability.
Hostile Work Environment – This occurs when there is emotional or physical abuse that makes it extremely difficult or impossible to do your job. To prove sexual harassment based upon a hostile work environment theory, an employee must prove
(1) that he or she was subjected to verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,
(2) this conduct was unwelcome,
(3) the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment and
(4) the working environment must be perceived from both a subjective and objective (reasonable person standard) perspective as abusive.
Generally, the simplest way to think of sexual harassment is that it is unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a person’s life and ability to function at work, home, or school. Sexual advances, forced sexual activity, statements about sexual orientation or sexuality, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature (including jokes and off-handed comments) all constitute sexual harassment. The behavior can be either direct or implied. Some basics about sexual harassment include the following:
- The victim as well as the harasser can be either male or female. In fact, in recent years the number of sexual harassment claims filed by men has tripled. The harasser does not need to be of the opposite sex.
- The harasser’s behavior must be unwelcome.
- The harasser can be anyone; a supervisor, a client, a co-worker, a teacher/professor, a schoolmate, a stranger, even a family member.
- The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be anyone who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it. For example, sexual harassment directed at a female employee can affect another female worker where it can be shown that the work atmosphere is permeated with sexual innuendo.
- The harasser does not have to have sexual intentions towards the target for the behavior to be considered discriminatory.
What Does Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Look Like?
According to a study by the University of California San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health, the statistics involving incidents of sexual harassment are sobering. Consider the following:
- 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
- More than 3 in 4 women (77%) and 1 in 3 men (34%) experienced verbal sexual harassment.
- 1 in 2 women (51%) and 1 in 6 men (17%) were sexually touched in an unwelcome way.
- Around 4 in 10 women (41%) and 1 in 4 men (22%) experienced cyber sexual harassment.
- More than 1 in 3 women (34%) and 1 in 10 men (12%) were physically followed.
- Close to 1 in 3 women (30%) and 1 in 10 men (12%) faced unwanted genital flashing.
- More than 1 in 4 women (27%) and 1 in 14 men (7%) survived sexual assault.
Sexual harassment in the workplace takes many forms such as the following: a supervisor constantly asking out an employee to join him or her at “happy hour” and then retaliating when the person turns them down; a co-worker sending sexually explicit text messages and emails to another co-worker; an atmosphere in which employees engage in sexually inappropriate teasing and joking. All of these situations can qualify as sexual harassment and create a hostile working environment and having the right sexual harassment lawyer in Las Vegas by your side can help you.
How Often Does Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Occur?
Accurate statistics are not available because they depend on someone coming forward to report the harassment. According to the US Government Accountability Office, most people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace do not report it either to their employer or to the relevant public agency.
Women are more likely to leave a job or avoid their harasser due to expectations of retaliation or other negative consequences if they should make a formal complaint. It is estimated only about 6 – 13% of people experiencing sexual harassment actually report it.
What the data does show is that women make up about 80% of those filing sexual harassment claims. And claims filed that also included an allegation of retaliation have increased steadily year over year since 2009.
What Are The Workplace Sexual Harassment Laws In Nevada?
Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination. Nevada anti-discrimination law states that any employment-related decision based on a person’s sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression to be an ‘unlawful employment practice’ by an employer.
The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) describes prohibited employer conduct to include
“ … employment decisions based on gender stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex…”
An employer can be liable for sexual harassment if the employer knew what was going on and did not take action to correct the situation or if the employer should have known what was going on based on information that was available.
What Can I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed At Work?
If you’re being sexually harassed at work, you may be in for a fight if you decide to do something about it. Think David and Goliath. That’s why most of the time it goes unreported. But if you’re serious you need to get your “ducks in a row” and make sure you have a credible case and a good lawyer by your side. That means you need to have evidence of what’s going on and that it’s unwelcome behavior. Here are some important tips on what you can do if you’re experiencing workplace sexual harassment:
- Review any company policies or handbooks and follow the procedures as described. That usually means you need to make some kind of report within the company. Always keep copies of everything you provide to the company.
- Document in writing every instance or incident that supports your position – dates, times, locations, what happened, and your response. If you haven’t been responding, decide on a response you can provide that clearly indicates ‘not okay’ and stick to it. Keep your documentation in a safe location.
- Confide in someone trusted. If you haven’t reported it to your company, having someone you trust know what’s going on can provide support for your account of events.
- Consider contacting an attorney that specializes in employment law. Getting some information from someone who understands can be very reassuring.
- Be prepared to look for another job. The truth is that even if your employer gets the harassment to stop, continuing to work in the same environment with your harasser may not be something you can continue to do.
How Do I File A Sexual Harassment Claim Against My Employer In Nevada?
If you’re unable to resolve the problem by going directly to your employer you may be able to turn to an outside agency. To file a sexual harassment, claim in Nevada, your company must have 15 or more employees. You can either bring a claim under state law through NERC or under federal law through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Filing with one is essentially filing with the other as they have an agreement to share information and process claims together. Both offer the same remedies.
You can file a claim on your own and it doesn’t cost anything. But you will be asked to provide certain information that could affect the decision to further investigate your claim. So, having the assistance of an attorney could be helpful in presenting the circumstances in a way most favorable to you.
You must file your claim within 300 days of when the harassment took place. The agency will then investigate the claim. If they decide there was discrimination, the agency will try to facilitate a resolution between you and your employer and may decide to file a lawsuit if no agreement can be reached. If they decide there was no discrimination or don’t pursue a lawsuit, then you have the right to bring a separate lawsuit against your employer with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer in Las Vegas.
Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me For Filing A Sexual Harassment Claim?
Legally, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The fear of being demoted or fired is often what allows sexual harassment to continue. Retaliation might not involve any obvious job changes but could include other negative behaviors that are specifically directed toward you. Regardless of the outcome of your sexual harassment claim, if your employer retaliates against you for making it, you can make a claim for retaliation. At Paul Padda Law, we’ve handled countless retaliation claims with great success and can help you understand your legal rights in this area.
What Damages Can Be Recovered In A Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim?
The amounts you may be able to recover will depend on your particular circumstances and how you were injured. Compensation may be awarded for the following kinds of losses if appropriate.
- Lost wages – both back pay and future earnings
- Pain, suffering, emotional distress, psychological damage
- Medical treatment
- Court costs, attorneys’ fees, other out-of-pocket expenses
- Punitive damages – if a court decides, based upon the specific evidence in the case, that an employer’s conduct warrants further punishing, then punitive damages can be awarded.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Sexual Harassment Lawyer Cost?
Some lawyers charge by the hour and some charge based upon a contingency fee arrangement. At Paul Padda Law, we handle sexual harassment cases based upon a contingency fee. This means that we don’t get paid any fees unless we recover something for you.
We Bring Justice To The Workplace In Sexual Harassment Cases In Las Vegas And Throughout Nevada
The chances are that if you’re being sexually harassed at work, you’re not the only one. By having the courage to come forward and expose a workplace injustice you may help others who shouldn’t have to suffer either. At Paul Padda Law, we fight for employees that are victims of workplace sexual harassment. Give us a call today at (702) 366-1888. You don’t need to suffer in silence.