Harassment and Discrimination FAQ
Our Ohio attorneys help you get answers
When you realize that you may have been experiencing harassment or discrimination at the workplace, you may not be sure what to do next. You know something is not right, but you’re not sure who to talk to about it or what can be done. All you have are questions. Our experienced harassment and discrimination attorneys can help you get answers.
The employment lawyers at Gibson Law, LLC used to represent employers at one of the nation’s largest law firms. We know the issues and questions that often come up in harassment and discrimination claims. We know what it takes to build a strong legal case and which strategies are the most effective. Now, we put our experience and legal knowledge to work for employees who have been mistreated.
Some of the most frequent questions we get about these types of case include:
- How will my employer react if I report harassment or discrimination?
- Are all types of workplace harassment illegal?
- How do I know if I am being discriminated against?
- Am I am only protected from workplace harassment by my supervisor?
- Can my employer fire me for filing a report?
- What should I do if I think I’m experiencing harassment or discrimination?
- Do I need a lawyer?
- How much is my case worth?
If you have experienced harassment or discrimination at the workplace, learn more about how we can help. Contact us for a consultation with a member of our legal team. We can explain your rights, review the details of your situation and go over your legal options. We can also answer any other questions you have.
How will my employer react if I report harassment or discrimination?
All employers have a responsibility to take complaints of harassment and discrimination at the workplace seriously. They are also responsible for taking steps to correct the situation and protect you from any such behavior in the future. Failing to take action could be a violation of federal and state law. If you feel your employer is not taking your report seriously, or if the harassment or discrimination continues, talk to a lawyer.
Are all types of workplace harassment illegal?
No. For harassment to be illegal, it must be meet several conditions. The harassment must be based upon your protected characteristic (such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, pregnancy, age for those over 40 or having a disability). The harassment must be offensive. It must be unwelcome. It must also be severe or pervasive enough to affect the conditions of your employment. Simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents are generally not considered harassment.
How do I know if I am being discriminated against?
There are many factors that go into an employer’s actions involving hiring, firing, promotion, raises and other decisions. Simply being a member of a protected class does not mean you were being discriminated against. Were there valid reasons for the employer taking that action? Are other employees not part of your protected class being treated the same? Was the action in line with company policy? An experienced employment lawyer can help determine if your employer may have violated your rights and what to do next.
Am I only protected from workplace harassment by my supervisor?
As a member of a protected class (race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, pregnancy, age or having a disability), you are protected by law from harassment by anyone at the workplace. This includes supervisors, managers, co-workers, workers in other departments, clients and customers. Your employer is responsible for addressing any incidents of harassment and taking steps to correct the situation. If the harassment continues, you have the right to file a complaint and take legal action.
Can my employer fire me for filing a report?
Many employees are concerned about losing their jobs if they report the harassment or discrimination they are experiencing at the workplace. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report harassment or discrimination or file a complaint with an agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). If your employer does fire you after you report what happened, it is up to them to prove your firing was unrelated. You also have the right to take legal action.
What should I do if I think I’m experiencing harassment or discrimination?
Keep a journal about the type of behavior you are experiencing, including as much detail as possible. If your employer has a policy for reporting harassment, follow that policy. Ask your employer to document the report and investigate the harassment or discrimination. If you experienced discrimination, consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). Next, contact an experienced employment attorney to get legal advice about your situation.
While it’s not required, it is often in your best interests to at least get advice from an experienced attorney. Federal and state laws addressing workplace harassment and discrimination are complex and the legal process can be complicated. You can count on your employer having legal representation. Our law firm knows where to look for evidence of harassment or discrimination and can build a strong case that your employer has to take seriously.
There is no simple answer to this question as each case is different. Many factors can impact the value of your case, including the amount of evidence to support your claim and whether you lost your job or were denied a promotion. Generally, you may be able to recover back wages, lost future wages if you lost your job, liquidated – or double – damages and attorney’s fees. An experienced attorney can give you a better idea about the amount of compensation you can expect.