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How Can My Company Address Claims of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment?

Posted on in Employment Law

Milwaukee, WI employment attorneys for sexual harassment claimsBy Attorney Erin Strohbehn

In the United States of America, everyone has the right to work in a professional setting free of sexual harassment, discrimination, and intimidation. In Wisconsin, sexual harassment and discrimination of any kind is prohibited in the workplace. According to the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, victims of sexual harassment and discrimination may be able to recover financial damages if the proper measures were not taken to address these issues. Damages may include loss of income and physical and emotional suffering. When addressing these matters, employers will want to work with an experienced employment law attorney.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment occurs when a person experiences unwelcome sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, or inappropriate verbal or physical conduct. Sexual harassment in the workplace typically falls into one of two categories:

  1. Quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo refers to receiving something in exchange for something else. This type of sexual harassment may involve offering a person promotions or special assignments in exchange for sexual favors or even threatening the loss of a job if sexual demands are not followed.
  2. Hostile work environment claims. In some cases, sexual harassment may create an unsatisfactory workplace for an employee. Frequent sexual comments, disparaging remarks about a person’s appearance, or sharing inappropriate materials could all create a situation that affects a person’s ability to do their job. There are numerous factors that may be considered to determine whether a work environment is hostile, including:
    • How frequently the harassment occurred
    • Whether the harassment was verbal, physical, or both
    • Whether the conduct was hostile or blatantly offensive
    • Whether other employees joined in the harassment
    • Whether the harassment was directed at and affected more than one employee
    • Whether the supposed harasser was a co-worker or supervisor

Employees should report these types of sexual harassment to their employer as soon as they occur, and an employer should take immediate action to address these types of situations.

Discrimination

Discrimination involves treating an employee differently from others because of their race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, or other statuses that are protected by law. It can include harassing remarks, racial slurs, unfair pay, fewer employee benefits, and limited promotion opportunities. Similar to harassment, an employee may make a discrimination claim if their job or the income they earn has been affected or if they have experienced a hostile work environment.

How to Address Claims of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment

Employers are directly responsible for any sexual harassment or discrimination claims made by employees. To keep claims from occurring, employers should provide employee training and establish clear company policies. When discrimination or sexual harassment are reported, a company should respond immediately, including disciplining or terminating any offending employees and ensuring that any concerns about a hostile work environment are addressed promptly.

Contact a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Employment Attorney Today

If an employee has reported sexual harassment or discrimination at your company, you will need to respond quickly and effectively. The Milwaukee employment law attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you address these matters, and we can help you put policies in place to prevent these types of issues from occurring. To learn more about how we can assist with discrimination, harassment, or other employment issues, contact us today at 414-271-1440.

Sources:

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/111/II/31

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasam/centers-offices/civil-rights-center/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-of-1964

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/race_color.cfm

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