Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination that afflicts many workplaces across the nation, including Kentucky. It can interfere with an employee’s ability to perform his or her job and can have a negative impact on the entire workforce and on the company at large. My firm, Michael D. Lindsey in Bowling Green, works to vindicate the rights of people who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. State and federal laws prohibit treating employees differently based on gender and allow victims to recover lost wages and other damages.
A common form of sexual harassment is “quid pro quo,” a legal term that means “something for something.” It describes a situation when a supervisor holds out the promise of benefits or other rewards if an employee shows romantic interest or more. It may also involve a threat of reprisals, such as firing or withholding of a raise or promotion, if the employee refuses to respond as the supervisor desires.
Examples of this type of harassment are:
The promise or threat need not be explicit. It is enough that the employee feels pressured to please the supervisor in ways that have nothing to do with the job. A single incidence of quid pro quo sexual harassment can be grounds for a lawsuit.
In this type of harassment, the employer fosters or tolerates a culture of offensive speech or conduct so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would perceive the conditions of the workplace had been altered, even if the conduct was not directed against them. Examples are:
A company may be liable for hostile-workplace harassment even if no executives or managers are involved. Offensive comments or conduct by clients, customers or others who visit the workplace can also amount to harassment if they go unpoliced by the company’s management.
Kentucky law and federal law make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting illegal activity in the workplace, including sexual harassment. Retaliation can take the form of denial of raise or promotion, transfer to an undesirable position or even termination of employment. Retaliation is illegal even if a subsequent investigation determines that sexual harassment did not occur.
An employee can claim sexual harassment and/or retaliation if the working conditions are perceived as so intolerable that the employee had no choice but to quit. This is known as a constructive discharge claim and, if proved, allows recovery of damages to same extent as if the employee had been fired.
Sexual harassment cases are difficult to prove, often hinging on the credibility of the people involved. At the firm of Michael D. Lindsey, I conduct a thorough investigation to build the evidence needed in your case. Based in Bowling Green, I provide dedicated legal representation to clients throughout Kentucky. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 270-282-4710 or contacting me online.