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Massachusetts Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Employment Lawyer Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

Excelling at your job and continuing to advance in your career can be challenging enough. When you are also subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, our Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer can fight for your rights. Too often, employers allow workplace harassment to persist, creating a toxic work environment. 

Fortunately, several state and federal laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace and provide protections to employees who face this illegal conduct. Boston sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Offices of  Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C. proudly assist workers with asserting their right to be free from sexual harassment on the job. 

They understand how daunting and intimidating it can be to stand up to your harasser or employer. You may fear backlash from your coworkers or supervisors, or you may worry that your financial security will be jeopardized. However, there are also many protections against retaliation for reporting harassment. 

As an experienced trial attorney, Barry Feinstein is ready to help you bring a claim against any party that may have wronged you.

Quick Summary

  • Sexual harassment involves mistreating someone based on their gender, which can include actions of a sexual nature or gender-driven mistreatment.
  • Behaviors like sexual jokes, unwelcome physical contact, requests for sexual favors, and unwanted advances can be considered sexual harassment.
  • Sexual harassment can be categorized as quid pro quo (power dynamics leading to unfavorable workplace conditions) or hostile work environment (persistent unwelcome behavior).
  • Steps to address sexual harassment include documentation, reporting to employers, understanding your rights, and consulting with an employment attorney.
  • Outcomes of addressing sexual harassment can involve employer investigations, involvement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and potential litigation.
  • Federal and state laws protect against sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting harassment is also illegal.
  • Emotional and psychological consequences of sexual harassment include reduced self-esteem, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and damage to personal relationships.
  • The statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim varies depending on the circumstances.
  • Victims of sexual harassment can seek various damages, including economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
  • Punitive damages may be awarded in severe cases where employers fail to prevent harassment.
  • Victims of sexual harassment should seek legal counsel to understand their rights and potential compensation.

If you or someone you know is dealing with workplace sexual harassment, reach out to us today for a free consultation. Let us be your advocates and bring an end to this distressing situation. Your well-being is our top priority.

What is a Sexual Harassment?

While many people can recognize sexual harassment when they see it, figuring out if it legally qualifies can be complex. In essence, it’s illegal to mistreat someone because of their gender. This mistreatment can involve actions of a sexual nature or those driven by a person’s gender

Since identifying sexual harassment isn’t always straightforward, it’s a wise move to consult with our trusted Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer if you have concerns about any behavior or work-related actions that might seem suspicious or related to your gender.

What Kinds of Behavior Could Be Considered Sexual Harassment?

Here are a few instances of workplace behavior that could be considered as potential sexual harassment:

Sexual Jokes

This refers to any inappropriate or offensive jokes of a sexual nature made in the workplace. These jokes can create an uncomfortable and hostile environment for employees.

Unwelcome Physical Conduct

This includes any unwarranted physical contact, such as touching, hugging, or patting, without the person’s consent. Physical interactions in the workplace must be consensual and respectful.

Requests for Sexual Favors

When someone in a position of authority or a colleague pressures another person for sexual favors in exchange for workplace benefits or to avoid negative consequences, it’s considered sexual harassment.

Unwanted Advances

Any unwelcome romantic or sexual advances, such as persistent flirting or romantic propositions, can create a hostile work environment if not reciprocated or welcomed.

Remarks Regarding a Person’s Body

Comments about a person’s physical appearance or body that make them uncomfortable or objectify them are considered inappropriate and offensive behavior.

Requests for Private Meetings

When someone insists on private meetings with sexual overtones or suggestive intentions, it can be a form of sexual harassment.

Sexual Gestures

Inappropriate and suggestive gestures or body language of a sexual nature can make others feel uncomfortable and harassed in the workplace.

Displaying Sexually Suggestive Objects

Keeping or displaying sexually suggestive materials or objects in the workplace is offensive and can contribute to a hostile environment.

Emails Containing Sexual Images

Sending or receiving emails with explicit or sexual content without consent is a clear form of sexual harassment.

Comments That Are Sexual

Any comments that have sexual connotations or are explicit can contribute to a hostile workplace environment.

Speculations Regarding Sexual Activity

Making assumptions or speculating about a person’s sexual activities is invasive and inappropriate behavior.

Statements About Sexual Activity

Discussing one’s own or someone else’s sexual activities in a way that makes others uncomfortable can be considered sexual harassment.

Sexist Comments

Sexist remarks that discriminate or belittle individuals based on their gender contribute to a hostile work environment and are unacceptable.

Sexual Assault

Any non-consensual sexual contact or assault is a serious form of sexual harassment and a criminal offense.

Sexual Slurs

Using derogatory and offensive language or slurs of a sexual nature to insult or demean someone is considered sexual harassment.

A Pattern of Subtle Sexual Advances

Repeated subtle and unwelcome sexual advances, even if not overt, can contribute to a hostile work environment.

Direct Sexual Propositions

Making explicit and unwelcome sexual propositions is a form of sexual harassment.

Sexually Explicit Questions

Asking personal and sexually explicit questions that make someone uncomfortable is considered inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

What Are the Two Types of Sexual Harassment at Work?

In legal terms, sexual harassment falls into two categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo happens when someone in a position of power insists that a subordinate endure sexual harassment in exchange for:

  • Securing employment
  • Retaining their position
  • Gaining a work-related advantage like a salary increase or career advancement

Quid pro quo harassment comes from bosses or managers and involves an unequal power dynamic that results in an unfriendly workplace atmosphere. Even a single occurrence of this behavior is sufficient to lodge a quid pro quo complaint.

Hostile Work Environment

Yet, if there’s a repeated pattern of sexual harassment, it might meet the criteria for the other form of sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome advances or inappropriate sexual behavior. Persistent sexual harassment from a colleague or supervisor can make the work environment hostile. 

In such instances, it’s essential to seek the guidance of our dedicated legal team to safeguard your rights.

If you’ve encountered any of the situations mentioned while on the job, don’t hesitate to reach out to the sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. We’ve assisted many individuals in handling their cases discreetly and with empathy. Please get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

What to Do If I’m Sexually Harassed At Work?

If you encounter sexual harassment at work, it’s essential to take specific steps to protect yourself and address the issue effectively. Start by carefully documenting any incidents, including when and where they occurred, who was involved, and what exactly was said or done. 

This record can be valuable if you decide to take legal action or report the harassment. Make sure to report the sexual harassment to your employer or your company’s human resources department following the established reporting procedures. By law, your employer must promptly investigate the situation and take appropriate measures.

Familiarize yourself with your rights under federal and state laws and review your company’s sexual harassment policy. If your employer doesn’t respond appropriately, consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also want to consult with our sexual harassment attorneys to explore your legal options.

To cope with the emotional impact of harassment, consider seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. Remember to prioritize your well-being during this challenging time.

What Will Happen After I Report Sexual Harassment?

Taking action against sexual harassment can have various outcomes, including:

Employer Investigation

Your employer will often investigate the allegation. This investigation may involve speaking with both you and the alleged harasser to gather information. Witnesses may also be interviewed to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the situation.

EEOC Involvement

In some cases, you may choose to involve the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is a government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. They can conduct their investigation into the harassment complaint, working alongside your employer’s efforts.

Potential Litigation

In more severe cases or when other avenues fail to resolve the issue, legal action may become necessary. This can include various legal proceedings such as depositions, where witnesses give sworn statements, and potentially a trial if the matter goes to court. 

Legal activities may also encompass negotiations, settlement discussions, and other related legal procedures aimed at addressing the harassment and seeking appropriate remedies.

Getting in touch with our sexual harassment attorneys in Massachusetts can assist you in getting ready to report the issue or in taking steps to avoid adverse consequences before reporting.

Federal and State Protections Against Sexual Harassment

Under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is prohibited in work environments when the employer maintains 15 or more employees. Sexual harassment is defined broadly to include many types of conduct, such as unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. 

A sexual harassment lawyer can help Boston employees determine whether a certain incident or series of events may constitute harassment. The victim and the harasser do not need to be of the opposite sex for harassment to take place, and the harasser can be anyone at the company or a client or customer. 

You do not need to be the direct victim of the harassment to bring a sexual harassment claim either. Federal law also makes it clear that an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an individual who opposes any employment policies that allow sexual harassment to persist.

At the state level, the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. This law states that an employer is liable when a person who has supervisory powers engages in sexual harassment of an employee, regardless of whether the employer had actual knowledge of the harassing conduct. 

This includes situations in which the supervisor is not officially designated in a supervisory capacity. The supervisor will still be liable even if the perpetrator only had apparent authority. One issue that commonly arises under this law is whether the victim had a reasonable belief that the harasser had supervisory authority. 

Retaining an experienced sexual harassment attorney in the Boston area can help you gather sufficient evidence to satisfy this element of a claim and to overcome any defenses.

What Are the Serious Long-Term Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Individuals who experience sexual harassment often endure:

  • Reduced Self-Esteem
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Physical Injuries
  • Damage to Personal Relationships

What is Massachusetts’ Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment Claims?

The statute of limitations for filing a court case is three years from the date of the last act of sexual harassment.

Under Massachusetts law, a discrimination charge must be submitted to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) within 300 days of the last instance of sexual harassment. This timeframe starts when the victim becomes aware or should reasonably be aware of the harassment. 

It’s important to follow this rule diligently to preserve the right to seek compensation for the endured sexual harassment, as exceptions are limited. Some individuals who have experienced sexual harassment may choose to have their cases resolved in court rather than through the MCAD for various reasons. 

However, the law mandates that the case must initially be submitted to the MCAD within 300 days of the last instance of harassment.  The complaint must remain with the MCAD for a minimum of 90 days. After this period, the victim has the option to transfer the case from the MCAD and file a lawsuit in either state or federal court. 

What Types of Damages Can I Get From My Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

Those who have experienced sexual harassment have the right to pursue legal remedies to hold those responsible, including both the harassers and employers, accountable. You may have the right to seek financial compensation for the economic hardships you’ve faced. 

Some examples of the financial compensation you may be entitled to include:

  • Medical Expenses
  • The Cost of Psychological Counseling
  • Lost Wages and Back Pay
  • Future Medical Expenses and Counseling Costs
  • Relocation Costs If You Changed Jobs
  • Lost Earning Potential
  • Legal Fees and Court Costs

You can also seek compensation for non-economic damages to account for your intangible losses. Non-economic damages frequently encompass:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Damage to Personal Relationships

In exceptionally severe cases, you might be eligible for punitive damages. Keep in mind that in such situations, employers are held accountable for the actions of their employees. It’s the responsibility of your employer and supervisors to proactively prevent workplace harassment. 

Why Do I Need a Massachusetts Sexual Harassment Lawyer?

Our competent Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyers can offer vital support to individuals grappling with the distressing consequences of workplace sexual harassment. Our legal professionals have a deep understanding of Massachusetts Law and can offer you the advice and representation needed to address your situation. 

We are in a position to advocate for your rights and assist you in navigating this difficult period. Our sexual harassment attorneys frequently provide services such as:

  • Carefully examine your case to identify the best approach.
  • Offering the right legal guidance on navigating your situation.
  • Assisting in preparing essential legal documents and handling their submission.
  • Serving as your representative in court, hearings, or negotiations with the other party or their legal team.
  • Ensuring your rights are safeguarded and treating you with dignity and respect throughout the process.
  • Maintaining strict confidentiality of all shared information, using it exclusively for your case.
  • Advocating for equitable compensation and negotiating settlements on your behalf.
  • If needed, take your case to trial and champion your rights.
  • In the event of an unfavorable court ruling, we support you through the appeals process.

Standing By Your Side and Fighting for Your Rights

The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. are here to provide you with the legal support you need when facing workplace sexual harassment in Massachusetts. Our trusted Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer has a proven track record of standing up for the rights of individuals like you. 

We know that dealing with such situations can be tough, but you don’t have to go through it alone. With our experience and commitment to justice, we will fight tirelessly to bring an end to workplace harassment and ensure that you receive the compensation and closure you deserve.

Don’t let workplace sexual harassment continue to affect your life. Take action today by reaching out to us for a free consultation. Your well-being matters, and we are here to make sure your voice is heard. Our law firm can also represent you in Spinal Cord Injury, Hand Injury, Burn Injury, and Face Injury.

Contact The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. now, and let us be your advocates for justice.

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