sexual and other harassment...
Sexual Harassment and Other Prohibited Forms of Harassment.
The law of sexual harassment is very complex in part as a result of a number of Supreme Court decisions involving the liability of employers in these cases. Generally speaking, pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, an employers with written policies prohibiting sexual harassment are not liable for any sexual harassment that occurs unless a complaint is made bringing the harassment to the employer’s attention, and the employer fails to take prompt remedial action. Although the Faragher defense is frequently asserted in one form or another in sexual harassment cases, this defense may not apply in every case. For example, in cases where the company owner is aware of or responsible for the harassment or in cases where the employer does not have a policy prohibiting harassment, the Faragher defense would not apply. Of course, in those cases where the employer fails to take prompt remedial action after the sexual harassment is reported, the Faragher defense would also be inapplicable. The principles applicable to sexual harassment cases are also equally applicable to other cases involving illegal forms of harassment. Harassment due to any discriminatory motive is prohibited by law. Thus, harassment on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, national origin, pregnancy, marital status or disability are prohibited by law and are subject to the same principles that apply in sexual harassment cases.
In the first Supreme Court decision involving sexual harassment, Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, the court held that in order to be legally actionable, the harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive. In other words, minor acts or conduct occurring on just one occasion may not be sufficiently severe or pervasive to be legally actionable. In general, for all harassment claims whether sexual harassment or harassment due to other discriminatory reasons must be first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Florida Commission on Human Relations assuming the employee is employed in the state of Florida. (This does not apply to federal employees). If outside the state of Florida, the complaint must be submitted to the EEOC or the state or local fair employment practices agency. After the complaint is investigated by the EEOC or appropriate state agency, the employee is generally free to pursue a lawsuit.
The sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. are experienced in handling sexual harassment and other harassment cases and can provide representation, answer any questions and otherwise provide guidance in this very complex area of the law. Please contact us if you have questions or if you are in need of legal representation.