Trusted Hartford Sexual Harassment Defense Lawyers
Sexual harassment in the workplace is unwanted, unwelcome attention directed toward a person’s sexuality or sexual identity that is a term or condition of employment. The two primary types of sexual harassment in the workplace are quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves situations where employment decisions are contingent on sexual favors, and thus necessarily involves someone with supervisory authority. Hostile work environment sexual harassment involves situations where sexual speech or conduct is so persistent, pervasive or severe that it interferes with the employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, offensive work environment. Employers may be liable for sexual harassment by supervisors, employees, or even non-employees depending on the level of control the employer has over non-employee conduct. Supervisors, who are distinguishable from other employees due to their power to take tangible employment actions, may be liable for their own conduct or for a failure to intervene when sexual harassment occurs. Further, employers are accountable for sexual harassment that occurs “in the workplace,” but the definition of workplace can also expand beyond traditional notions depending on the nature of the work or when work relationships carry over outside of work, especially on social media. It is critical that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable and proven Hartford Sexual Harassment Defense Lawyer.
If sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, both the employer and the supervisor could face penalties. Penalties against employers can include past/future lost wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, cease and desist orders, attorney costs and court fees, and reinstatement or promotion of the harassed employee. Possible penalties against individual supervisors include discipline at work, compensatory damages, punitive damages, cease and desist orders, attorney costs and court fees, and even criminal penalties. Retaliation against an employee for reporting, complaining, or participating in a proceeding about sexual harassment is also illegal. Retaliatory action includes termination, demotion, change in workload, hours or location, and even exclusion from afterwork social functions.
In Connecticut, sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by both federal law and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act. Connecticut law currently requires employers to post a notice regarding sexual harassment and requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide 2 hours of training to all supervisory employees within 6 months of starting the supervisory position. However, Connecticut sexual harassment laws may soon be changing to create more protections and impose more requirements on employers. In the 2018 General Assembly session, the “Time’s Up Act,” an overhaul of the state’s sexual harassment laws, passed the Senate but ultimately died when the House failed to push it through on the last day of the session. The bill is a prime candidate to resurface during the 2019 legislative session. Having a committed Hartford sexual harassment defense attorney that is experienced in this area is vital.
At Siegel O’Connor, we believe prevention is the best defense against sexual harassment liability. Our Hartford Sexual Harassment Defense Attorneys provide sexual harassment training and seminars, where employers and supervisors can learn what they should be doing to prevent sexual harassment, investigate claims of sexual harassment, and avoid liability to the best extent possible. Siegel O’Connor can also help employers when sexual harassment actions arise, covering every step of the process.
Please contact one of our experienced Hartford sexual harassment defense lawyers to learn more about how we can protect your business.