Sexual Harassment / Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Sexual Assault/Sexual Abuse/Sexual Harassment Attorneys
The “Me Too” movement has brought sexual harassment in the spotlight. In Illinois, sexual harassment and sexual assault is illegal. Our sexual harassment lawyers work to resolve sexual harassment in and outside of the workplace.
Illinois has a very powerful law, the Illinois Gender Violence Act, that protects woman who are victims of sexual assault. This can include unwanted touching, rape, and other forms of violence. The statute of limitations on this Act is much longer than the 180/300 day limitations for employment discrimination claims filed with, respectively, the Illinois Department of Human Rights or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The limitation period for claims involving physical conduct under the Illinois Gender Violence Act is seven years.
Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual conduct, requests for sexual favor, advances and other conduct. Private employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s … sex….” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–2(a)(1). Employers can be held vicariously liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment of a subordinate.
An employer can avoid liability by showing: (a) that the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and (b) that the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.
There are also a number of laws that protect minors who have been sexually abused, including Sexual Exploitation of a Minor–18 U.S.C.A. § 1466A.
5 Tips for sexual harassment victims in Illinois:
- Document in writing/email through a complaint to human resources that the sexual harassment is occurring and you need it to stop,
- File a sexual harassment claim with a governmental agency,
- Don’t quit your job if at all possible,
- Follow the sexual harassment/discrimination guidelines in your employment handbook,
- Contact a sexual harassment attorney to advise you through the process.
Sample Sexual Harassment Complaint:
We are frequently asked how to file a sexual harassment complaint. You should always be truthful and direct. Do it in your own words. Here is an example:
Dear Human Resources:
I am being sexually harassed at work by _____________. I need it to stop because I feel
uncomfortable. I do not like being subjected to unwanted sexual touching and comments.
Please help me stop this so I can continue to work.
EEOC Sexual Harassment Complaint
Additional Ways To Complain About Sexual Harassment: You can also file a formal
complaint with the EEOC or the Illinois Department of Human Rights about sexual harassment
in the workplace. In fact, if you plan to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit, you are required to
timely file with the appropriate governmental agency. Here is a link to the EEOC web site to
find out more about how to file a charge of employment discrimination: https://www.eeoc.gov/
Examples of Sexual Abuse Our Illinois Sexual Harassment Attorneys Have Handled:
Represented nurse who had a physician put his hands inside of her shirt and on her breasts and, when our client complained, she was fired. Substantial confidential settlement reached. (Joliet, Illinois)
Represented worker who alleged she was sexually assaulted at a workplace event and fired in retaliation for reporting it to her local police department. Claims were asserted under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and also for wage claims. Obtained substantial agreed judgment. (Chicago, Illinois)
Represented auditing firm in litigation in suing former vice president and board member after he had been accused of sexual harassment and had his employment terminated; allegations included breach of fiduciary duties and counterclaims for compensation under various contracts. (DuPage County, Illinois)
Represented medical professional who had an intimate relationship with one of the married physician owners where she worked. After the relationship ended, the nature of the work relationship ended. We were able to resolve on a pre-lawsuit basis, including all sexual harassment claims, our client’s case to her satisfaction.
Defended a university professor against allegations of harassment and sex discrimination by his former students. The plaintiffs alleged that the professor violated Title IX, committed assault and battery, and inflicted negligent and intentional emotional distress upon them based upon conduct that occurred while they were students at a private university. Within less than 1 year of the lawsuit being filed, we convinced the plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss their claims against our client–with prejudice (i.e., they cannot file another case on the same claims against our client) — and without being paid any money whatsoever. (Chicago, Illinois) We have represented several woman who have been sexually harassed, or had inappropriate sexual behavior from their superiors at work.