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Sexual harassment, whether it occurs in the workplace, at school, or in public spaces, is not solely about sexual behavior. Rather, it involves the harasser exhibiting hostility toward the victim or exerting power over the victim due to their gender. In Texas, the term “gender” encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Although sexual harassment often involves a man harassing a woman, men can also be victims of sexual harassment. Moreover, sexual harassment also takes place within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, involving individuals of the same or different sexes.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant issue that can negatively impact workers’ health and well-being, as well as their productivity and attendance. In this publication, we refer to it as “workplace sexual harassment.”

What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?

There exist two distinct forms of workplace sexual harassment. The first type is identified as “hostile work environment” sexual harassment, while the second is recognized as “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.

Hostile Work Environment

There are two different ways in which a hostile work environment sexual harassment can occur:

  1. If a colleague at work directs unwelcome sexually suggestive or demeaning comments towards you, repeatedly asks you out on dates despite your refusals, engages in offensive gestures, touches you inappropriately, tells offensive jokes or plays pranks on you, behaves in an intimidating manner towards you, or shares pornographic material with you, you may be the target of hostile work environment sexual harassment. This kind of behavior is specifically directed at you because of your gender status (whether you are a man, a woman, or transgender). The severity and/or frequency of the harassment must be significant enough to impact your ability to perform your job effectively, or even a single incident of harassment can have such an impact. You must also demonstrate that your employer is responsible for the harassment, whether directly or indirectly, even if the perpetrator is a customer or vendor of your employer. For example, if a co-worker or a frequent customer makes offensive comments, you need to demonstrate how your workplace failed to prevent their misconduct.
  2. Another way in which hostile work environment harassment can occur is if your employer treats you less favorably than your co-workers of a different gender because of your gender status. This can include discriminatory practices in various aspects of employment, such as hiring, work hours, salary, promotions, work assignments, vacation or sick leave benefits, job evaluations, disciplinary actions, and termination.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place when a manager or supervisor asks or requires you to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for employment benefits or promotions. Even if you didn’t explicitly refuse, it can still be considered sexual harassment. If you felt pressured to engage in sexual behavior because you were too embarrassed to say no, or feared losing your job, or were afraid of workplace punishment, your experience could be considered an instance of unlawful harassment. While your gender status does not necessarily have to be the sole reason you were targeted for this unfair treatment, it must be a significant factor in the harassment you endured.

Who May Be Liable For Workplace Sexual Harassment?

If an employer who is an owner, manager, partner, corporate officer, or supervisor (who has authority over you) directly participates in the harassment, they may be legally responsible, which means they may be liable. The employer may also be liable if they knew or should have known about the harassment but did not take effective and timely action to stop it. According to state law, individual supervisors or managers may be liable if their actions are discriminatory, such as promoting only men despite the presence of qualified women. In certain circumstances, a union or its representatives, an employment agency, or even a religious organization may be liable for the harassment, despite having some protections based on religious freedom.

What Are The Laws Against Workplace Sexual Harassment? 

  • Federal Laws 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, race, and other factors. Sexual harassment is recognized as a type of sex discrimination, and the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is responsible for enforcing Title VII. The law applies to companies with at least 15 workers, as well as employment agencies and most labor unions.

  • Texas Laws

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provide protection to employees against employment discrimination or sexual harassment based on their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This protection is applicable to private employers who have 15 or more employees and all state and local government entities, regardless of the number of employees they have.

As of September 1, 2021, the laws concerning sexual harassment have been modified. Under the new law, employees are allowed to file sexual harassment lawsuits against their supervisors, coworkers, and anyone who acts on behalf of their employer in relation to them. This includes managers, supervisors, HR personnel, and shift leaders. The law now applies to workplaces with at least one worker. The updated law stipulates that employers must take immediate and appropriate corrective action if they were aware or should have been aware of the sexual harassment. The new law also extends the time for filing a complaint to 300 days.

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How Much Time Do I Have To File A Complaint Or Sue? 

The law that applies depends on your choice between federal law and state law.

  • Federal Law Time Limits

According to Federal Law, the initial step to take is to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In the state of Washington, complaints related to discrimination must be filed within 300 days, as sexual harassment is prohibited under state law. Typically, a claim must be filed within 180 days, but the extended time frame applies in Washington. The EEOC will conduct an investigation into your case, and they may work towards reaching a voluntary settlement between all parties involved to avoid court proceedings. Although the EEOC may bring a lawsuit on your behalf, they usually issue a “right-to-sue” notice, which permits you to file a private lawsuit in court. For guidance on how to file a claim with the EEOC, refer to the agency’s website.

  • Texas Law Time Limits

Texas has lengthened the amount of time that employees have to report a sexual harassment complaint to the Texas Workforce Commission. Previously, they had 180 days to do so, but now, as a result of House Bill 21 which was made into law on June 9, 2021, individuals have 300 days from the date of the alleged incident to file a complaint. However, this new extension only applies to sexual harassment claims that took place on or after September 1, 2021, and only pertains to Texas sexual harassment claims. Discrimination claims based on other factors such as disability, sex, and race are still subject to the 180-day time limit.

I Want to File A Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim Or Sue In Texas. What Should I Do?

  1. You should communicate to your harasser to cease their behavior. If you are hesitant to do so due to feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, make it evident to the harasser that their inappropriate actions are not wanted.
  2. Notify the management and demand action to be taken to end the harassment. Inform a person in a position of authority who can make decisions about the issue. Follow the workplace sexual harassment complaint procedures established by your employer, if available. If feasible, file a written complaint and have a reliable witness present. Request confirmation in writing from your employer that they have received your complaint and note the date and time of submission. Keep a copy of the complaint for your records.
  3. If you are a union member, inform your union about the discrimination and request that they conduct an investigation and address the issue on your behalf.
  4. Make an effort to fulfill your job duties and maintain your work responsibilities. If you have a history of absenteeism, chronic tardiness, poor work quality, using drugs or alcohol at work, or showing up to work under the influence, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to demonstrate that you were terminated or disciplined unfairly due to workplace sexual harassment.
  5. Create a written record containing dates, times, witnesses, and noteworthy events relevant to your claim. Jot down these details during breaks or after work to avoid any accusations of conducting personal matters during work hours. Store your written record and notes at a secure location outside of your workplace or at home.
  6. Do not create or retain duplicates of documents unless you have obtained consent from your employer. Attempting to acquire records and details without proper authorization can result in termination and may weaken or restrict your claim.
  7. Below are some guidelines to follow when taking notes about an incident. Focus on recording only factual information such as the individuals involved, the actions that occurred, and the timing and location of the incident. Ensure that your notes are truthful and free from assumptions, exaggerations, or misrepresentations. Additionally, make a note of any physical or emotional reactions you experienced as a result of the harassment, such as changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, weight fluctuation, depression, or fear. It’s also important to note how the harassment has impacted your job performance.
  8. If you choose to talk about your situation with supportive colleagues, ensure that these discussions occur outside of work premises and during non-work hours. Only confide in individuals whom you trust completely.
  9. Retain a copy of your written job description in your personal records.
  10. If you receive a written job evaluation, request a copy and ensure that you keep it. Positive job evaluations can be useful in challenging an employer’s assertion that disciplinary action or termination was due to substandard work quality or improper work habits.
  11. When presented with a written disciplinary warning or notice by your employer, take the time to read it carefully and ensure that you comprehend its contents before signing it. If you have any questions or uncertainties, seek clarification. Request the presence of a witness during any disciplinary meetings. If you disagree with the notice, draft a statement detailing your perspective and request that it be included in your employment file. Retain a copy of your statement. You have the right to review your personnel file to verify that your statement has been added to it.
  12. In the event of termination, you have the right to receive a written explanation outlining the reasons for your dismissal.
  13. When consulting with a lawyer, optimize your time by arranging your information in a well-organized manner and sorting it chronologically according to the dates of the incidents. Draft a concise and lucid summary of the primary aspects of your claim.

The Time to Act is Now 


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What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities In Relation To Sexual Harassment?

It is mandatory for your employer to conduct training programs aimed at educating all employees, managers, and agents on what constitutes sexual harassment, and to inform them of the measures that the employer will take to address complaints about such behavior. The employer must formulate and enforce policies and regulations that prevent sexual harassment, and also monitor their implementation. Merely having policies and procedures in place is insufficient; they must be effectively communicated and enforced.

Your employer must establish procedures for employees who experience sexual harassment to report their complaints. These procedures should provide a clearly identifiable, easily accessible, and sufficient channel for reporting complaints.

Your employer is responsible for conducting a thorough and timely investigation of complaints of sexual harassment and must take immediate and effective steps to eradicate any further incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Retaliation Against Sexual Harassment At Work

Your workplace must not retaliate against you in any circumstances for filing a lawsuit against a sexual harasser. If anyone at your job harasses or mocks you for any reason regarding your case, they will be violating your rights under Title VII.

Retaliation refers to negative or spiteful actions taken after a report of sexual harassment at work. If you suspect retaliation has occurred or has been threatened, you should report it immediately and inform your attorney. For instance, if you had never received a written warning before and suddenly start receiving statements on your performance after making the report, it is possible that you are being retaliated against.

Since retaliation for filing a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the perpetrator can also be held accountable in a civil case. If your workplace becomes hostile after you file a sexual harassment case, document any retaliatory comments or acts and inform your attorney. After standing up to a harasser, you should not be made uncomfortable in your workplace by anyone.

What Damages Am I Entitled To Recover Under Laws Protecting Me From Sexual Harassment Discrimination?

If you manage to reach a settlement or obtain a trial award, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement for any expenses incurred, compensation for psychological pain and emotional suffering, medical costs, lost wages (both present and future), job reinstatement, reinstatement of job benefits, promotion, legal fees, and expenses incurred during the litigation. In certain situations, you may also be entitled to receive punitive damages.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorneys Offering Free Consultations In Texas

Do you live in Texas and have been a victim of sexual harassment at your workplace? Do you feel overwhelmed and uncertain about your legal options? Don’t suffer alone. Let us at Workplace Harassment Texas support you in seeking justice and holding your harasser accountable.

Our skilled team of lawyers specializes in helping victims of workplace sexual harassment. We will dedicate our resources and expertise to investigate your case, collect evidence, and build a strong case to protect your rights and obtain compensation for the harm you have suffered.

We understand the serious and long-term consequences of workplace sexual harassment on your well-being, career, and personal life. That’s why we offer personalized support and guidance throughout the entire legal process. We will listen to your story, offer legal advice, and keep you updated on the progress of your case.

Don’t let sexual harassment at work strip you of your dignity and self-respect. Take action today and contact Workplace Harassment Texas. We will fight tirelessly to defend your rights and help you receive the justice you deserve.

Call For Your Free Consultation Now - (888) 306-4555

The Time to Act is Now 


Act now for a free consultation from our top-rated legal  team to discuss any rights or compensation that you may be entitled.

We will fight to get the maximum compensation owed to you for your injuries and losses.

Complete The Form Or Call – (888) 306-4555

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If you have been harassed at work in Texas, or if you were compelled to leave your job because of severe and continual workplace harassment, contact Workplace Harassment Lawyers of Texas right away.

Our experienced Workplace harassment lawyers can assess the situation and recommend your best options for moving forward. You might be able to file a workplace discrimination claim against your employer for missed pay, benefits, and other monetary damages.

If you’d like to talk with us and ask questions specific to your case, call us at (888) 306-4555 for a free case evaluation.

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