Filing A Sexual Harassment Claim

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Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in Portland

Helping You Explore Your Legal Options When Sexually Harassed in Oregon

Sexual harassment can take many forms, some of which, like unwanted touching or direct advances, will be obvious. Other forms of sexual harassment, like quid pro quo arrangements and frequent lewd comments, can be more insidiously subtle.

You have a right to a workplace free of all forms of sexual harassment. When you are sexually harassed by a non-employee, colleague, or even a supervisor, professional legal representation can help protect and enforce your rights.

Our lawyers at Bullman Law Firm can assist you with filing a sexual harassment claim in Portland. We can evaluate your company’s sexual harassment reporting policies and represent you in communications with your manager or human relations department.

If your employer is unable to satisfactorily resolve the situation, we can help you pursue claims with the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Our firm can also assist you with filing a lawsuit against your employer.

Do not tolerate sexual harassment in your workplace. Call (503) 987-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case review today.

What To Do When Sexually Harassed in the Workplace

It is important that you act quickly and decisively following a sexual harassment incident. Though the state of Oregon now gives employees up to 5 years to report violations of its expanded sexual harassment laws, the EEOC requires that incidents be reported within 300 days. The sooner you act, the more legal options you will have available to you. Taking action sooner rather than later can also help prevent repeat incidents.

Review Your Company Handbook

All companies are required by law to have a policy that expressly forbids sexual harassment of any kind in the workplace. Review your company’s handbook and any policies for reporting sexual harassment. If no written policy exists, your employer is likely violating the law.

Document Everything

When sexual harassment occurs, you should directly inform the perpetrator that their conduct is inappropriate, if possible.

You should document what happened immediately following the incident, including:

  • What was specifically said or done
  • Who was involved
  • When and where the misconduct took place
  • Any witnesses that were present

Keep any physical evidence, such as copies of emails, that can support your account of what occurred.

Formally Report the Misconduct

Most companies will have protocols for reporting sexual harassment. If not, you should still attempt to formally report the misconduct.

If a non-employee or colleague harassed you, you should make your report with your immediate supervisor or manager. If your supervisor or manager is responsible for the harassment, you will need to either report the misconduct to their supervisor or manager or your human relations department.

Ideally, your employer will take sexual harassment seriously and take immediate steps to address it. This might include disciplining or terminating the perpetrator. If you are satisfied with your employer’s actions, you may not need to file a complaint with a government agency.

Retaliation Protection When Reporting Sexual Harassment

Your employer cannot retaliate against you for reporting instances of sexual harassment. This means that they cannot fire you, withhold promotions, demote you, give you unfavorable work assignments, or create a hostile work environment as a result of your speaking up.

We can help you explore your legal options if you believe that you have been retaliated against.

Filing Complaints with BOLI and the EEOC

The unfortunate reality is that many employers fail to appropriately respond to sexual harassment complaints. Companies will fail to take allegations seriously or will fail to meaningfully discipline offenders, especially if the perpetrator is someone valuable to the business. Keep in mind that human relations departments are designed to protect the company and will not serve as your advocate.

If you are not satisfied with your employer’s response to your reports of sexual harassment, you will need to consider filing a sexual harassment claim with BOLI, the state-level agency that manages sexual harassment issues, or the EEOC, the federal agency that oversees workplace discrimination complaints. We are familiar with both agencies’ processes and can assist you with filing.

The Complaint Process

When you submit a complaint to BOLI or the EEOC, the agency will conduct an investigation into your allegations. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing evidence, requesting a statement of position from your employer. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a complaint with BOLI or the EEOC.

Our attorney can assist you throughout the investigation of your sexual harassment claim in Portland. We can help you respond to requests for information and ensure that all submitted evidence and documentation supports your case.

Right to Sue

If BOLI or EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to suspect sexual harassment occurred, you and your employer will be invited to seek a resolution through conciliation. If reconciliation is not possible, BOLI and the EEOC have the right to sue the employer on your behalf. Should they choose not to sue, you will be given the right to file a lawsuit.

Should BOLI or EEOC feel that there is not sufficient evidence to support your allegations, they will dismiss the case and provide a notice of rights. This authorizes you to pursue direct legal action against your employer within 90 days of receipt.

Considering Legal Action

If the EEOC or BOLI are not able to resolve your case, you will have the right to sue your employer for sexual harassment. We have trial experience and can assist you in pursuing legal action in these instances.

A successful sexual harassment lawsuit can allow you to recover damages for:

  • Lost Compensation
  • Emotional Suffering
  • Punitive Damages
  • Legal Fees

Our lawyers at Bullman Law Firm are prepared to assist you with each stage of filing a sexual harassment claim in Portland, up to and including taking your case to court. Our firm exclusively represents employees and is not afraid to go up against the toughest and largest companies.

We have a complete understanding of state and federal laws governing sexual harassment in the workplace. Our team will do everything possible to secure a positive outcome in your case.

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We Only Fight for the Best Interest of Workers

Our attorneys are empathetic to workers who are bullied and intimidated by their employers. Let us help you seek justice if you have been wronged in the workplace.