The statistics released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) show that sexual harassment continues to be a significant problem in the workplace. According to the EEOC, they resolved over 11,000 sexual harassment charges in 2008 and recovered $47,400,000.00 in monetary benefits for aggrieved employees throughout the country. This number only includes cases that were actually settled within the confines of the EEOC administrative system and does not include cases that were not resolved and worked their way into the Court system.
In Tennessee, like other states, sexual harassment claims are governed primarily by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is a corresponding Tennessee law enforcing the rights of parties in the workplace in Tennessee, but it is largely patterned after the Civil Rights Act. Sexual harassment claims are not simply confined to instances where there are direct sexual requests or demands or even physical contact (although these claims certainly give rise to actions). More commonly, the sexually suggestive or forced atmosphere in the workplace creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment that negatively affects performance. In Tennessee, the sexual harassment law is somewhat broadened to include any unequal treatment of an employee based solely upon their gender, if that treatment would make a reasonable person uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment laws are not gender specific and limited to females. The statistics show that although females continue to suffer the lion’s share, nearly 16% of all the claims filed were filed by males. The problems with sexual harassment in the workplace continue to cost companies and individuals substantial time, money and resources.
At the Higgins firm, we zealously represent those individuals who have been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace in Tennessee and around the country. We seek damages that include back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief and, in the most severe cases, punitive damages. We understand the administrative process and will assist you in attempting to resolve your claim through that process and, if necessary, through the Courts.