Snohomish County Sexual Harassment Attorney

male employee leaning in to talk to a female employee, she looks concerned

Sexual harassment has always been a problem in the workplace. What has changed in recent years is that such behavior has become less tolerable by a larger portion of the public and we now have laws to keep such misconduct in check. In addition, more victims of sexual harassment are speaking up today whereas, in the past, victims were silent.

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is defined as unwelcome advances or conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interfere with the performance of the employee’s job or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Because all forms of sexual harassment are illegal, employers can be held liable for such conduct if they fail to take action to stop it.

Employees are not required to lodge a formal complaint before filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in Washington state. Employers are, however, required to take steps to remedy the situation as soon as they receive such a complaint. If your employer does not handle the problem and you continue to dread facing your work environment due to sexual harassment, it is time to contact a trustworthy sexual harassment attorney to help you pursue justice. If you live in the Seattle area there is no employment lawyer more dedicated to winning your sexual harassment case than Kristi Favard, founding attorney of Sapphire Legal in Everett.

Kristi not only has outstanding credentials, but she has also earned a reputation for vigorously fighting for compensation for her clients’ damages, whether through negotiation of a settlement or through skillful litigation in court. In addition, as her client she will treat you with genuine warmth, personal attention, and compassion that is rarely found in the legal profession. She has the legal clout to help you by first attempting to negotiate an appropriate settlement with your employer and, if your employer does not cooperate, she will file a lawsuit on your behalf. She may also assist you in pursuing relief with the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and/or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Employers’ tolerance for sexual harassment is typically set by those at the top. It quickly becomes known if sexual slurs, insults or inappropriate jokes or comments will be tolerated as normal or if the employer will take a firm stand against them. You have the legal right to work without the distraction, humiliation, or fear of sexual harassment. Sapphire Legal can help you enforce your right to a workplace that is free from sexual harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment

There are two types of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority (e.g. a business owner, manager, supervisor or executive) demands sexual favors as a condition of employment, or of getting a raise, promotion, bonus, better work space or other employee benefit. Quid pro quo offenses may also work in reverse. That is, you may be demoted, denied an earned raise or even wrongfully terminated for refusing to comply with sexual demands.

Hostile Work Environment

A single dirty joke or reference to a sexual act does not make a workplace environment “hostile.” In order to lodge a successful claim that you have been subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of sexual harassment, the misconduct must be “intentional, severe, recurring and/or pervasive” such that it interferes with your ability to perform your job. A hostile work environment may be created by offensive cartoons or statements pinned up on the bulletin board, offensive T-shirt slogans or buttons, disparaging or provocative nicknames or slurs, wolf whistles or other sounds or gestures of a sexual nature.

It is important to note that any employee — male, female, straight, gay, bi-sexual transgender, asexual or questioning — can be a victim of sexual harassment and an employee may have a claim for sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment even if he or she is not the individual being directly sexually harassed (i.e. based on the sexual harassment of a coworker). Also, you should be aware that offensive misconduct can be carried out not only by your superiors at the workplace, but by coworkers or colleagues, customers, clients, vendors, or delivery personnel.

Finally, although in order to prove a hostile work environment it is usually necessary to have evidence of numerous troubling events, a single incidence of requesting a sexual favor for a pay increase may constitute a quid pro quo claim depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.

What Our Sexual Harassment Attorney Can Do For You

You should always feel comfortable contacting our office, even if you’re uncertain about whether you have a viable claim. We will evaluate your case and advise you of your chances of filing a successful claim. We will always carefully listen to your account of the facts and thoroughly examine any evidence you have. If you become our client, we will interview witnesses and build a strategy for your case based on the facts. We will make every effort to negotiate an appropriate settlement with your employer but if your employer is not reasonable and settlement is not possible, we are fully prepared to take your case to court and fight aggressively to make you whole.

If your case requires filing a legal claim in federal court, we will file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on your behalf and obtain a right to sue letter so we may pursue your case in court. If we decide to file your case in state court, we may file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission or we may skip that process and immediately file your lawsuit instead. Please note that a right to sue letter from the EEOC is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in federal court but there is no such prerequisite in Superior Court in Washington. The decision to file your case in state or federal court will depend on the facts of your individual case.

Damages You May Be Entitled To Receive

If your case requires filing a legal claim in federal court, we will file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on your behalf and obtain a right to sue letter so we may pursue your case in court. If we decide to file your case in state court, we may file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission or we may skip that process and immediately file your lawsuit instead. Please note that a right to sue letter from the EEOC is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in federal court but there is no such prerequisite in Superior Court in Washington. The decision to file your case in state or federal court will depend on the facts of your individual case.

In addition, you are entitled to recover money to reimburse you for the emotional suffering and any other related psychological counseling or medical bills incurred as a result of the sexual harassment. If your employer was aware of the sexual harassment but failed to take steps to remedy the situation, you may be awarded additional damages. Most often in a successful sexual harassment claim, you will also be able to recover attorneys’ fees and other legal costs.

Contact Our Everett Sexual Harassment Lawyer

At Sapphire Law, we’re here to help you stand up against the deplorable traditions of sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are being or have been sexually harassed at work, contact us today. We can put a stop to it and will advocate for you.