Sexual harassment victims have a right to compensation

26 Feb, 2015
By: Donald W Fohrman
Sexual harassment victims have a right to compensation

What is sexual harassment?

One of the greatest stumbling blocks to preventing sexual harassment is the widespread misunderstanding of what actually constitutes the act. According to the Illinois Department of Human Rights, individuals may be considered to be the victims of sexual harassment if they experience any of the following in the workplace or in an educational setting:

  • Unwelcome, deliberate or repeated sexual advances
  • Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • Seeing or receiving signs, emails, text messages and pictures of a sexual nature
  • Requests for sexual favors

A personal injury lawyer in Illinois knows that when submission to the unwanted behavior is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment, victims may have sufficient grounds for a civil sexual harassment lawsuit. The same may also be true if the submission or rejection is used to make important decisions that affect the individual, or if the unwanted attention is designed to interfere with the victim’s ability to function in the workplace or at school.

Laws governing awards

When individuals show that they have been the victims of sexual harassment, they may be able receive compensatory and punitive damages, as well as the attorneys’ fees and costs required to file the suit. However, claims are limited under the Civil Rights Act of 1991. A personal injury lawyer in Illinois should know that the combined compensatory and punitive damages are capped depending on the number of employees the business or institution employs. For employers with 15 to 100 workers, the cap is $50,000; 101 to 200 workers is $100,000; 201 to 500 workers is $200,000; and employers who employ more than 500 workers have a cap of $300,000. Any attorneys’ fees or interest are awarded in addition to the cap.

Awards for damages

Compensatory damages for sexual harassment may include lost wages, loss of employment ability, medical expenses and economic misfortune. If the offending party’s actions are particularly disturbing or excessive, victims may receive compensation as a way of preventing the harasser from ever repeating his or her actions.

A personal injury lawyer in Illinois understands that the emotional and psychological damage that can occur after a victim is sexually harassed is real and those who endure these acts should be duly compensated. Sexual harassment victims should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for assistance in their matter. Due to limitations of the laws, victims have a specific time frame in which to file suit.

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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