Sexual Harassment Attorneys in San Antonio
Sexual harassment has no place in today’s workplace. Where once sexual harassment was often tolerated, overlooked or misunderstood, it is now recognized as the cause of real and significant emotional and economic harm. The workplace should be somewhere you feel safe and respected. If you are suffering unwanted comments, unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, or other forms of sexual harassment at work it is incredibly frustrating and can feel humiliating.
In San Antonio, TX, you are protected by both state and federal labor and employment law. You have a right not to be harassed at work and if you have suffered this form of abuse you can hold your employer accountable and hire a sexual harassment lawyer in San Antonio to seek damages against them.
Not only could you be financially compensated for your suffering, you may also protect others from going through what you have been through in the future.
Victims of sexual harassment at work often experience confusion regarding the nature of illegal, actionable sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurs under two sets of circumstances:
- Harassment leading to a hostile work environment
- “Quid quo pro” harassment, which means that an employee is denied compensation or benefits, including promotion, advancement and pay, upon the employee’s refusal to engage in unwanted sexual activity
Hostile work environments can be created by unwanted and inappropriate comments, emails, pictures and/or touching.
In order to have a successful claim, it is important to seek help from a sexual harassment attorney in San Antonio who can guide you. Our harassment lawyers will make sure that you follow the proper legal protocols and that your legal rights are protected.
Galo Law Firm – Sexual Harassment Lawyers in San Antonio
You have the right to fair treatment in the workplace, and if you have suffered harassment at work, you also have a right to speak up. With support from our San Antonio sexual harassment attorney at Galo Law Firm, you will have the resources and guidance you need to take back your power.
Our employment law firm represents people in sexual harassment cases from both sides. Sometimes, people may raise unjust claims.
Our sexual harassment attorneys in San Antonio can understand cases from both defense and prosecution, which gives us an in-depth understanding and the ability to expertly guide you through your case.
Our sexual harassment lawyers in San Antonio are committed to your rights and best interests. We will fight for an out-of-court settlement where possible but we are also prepared to fight for you in a state or federal court if necessary. We pride ourselves on our dedication to the attorney-client relationship and will take a highly personalized approach from beginning to end.
Contact our law office today and arrange a consultation with a San Antonio sexual harassment lawyer at 210-361-8043.
Sex-Based Harassment vs. Sexual Harassment?
Harassment is a broad term that can include any unwanted behavior both verbal and physical, that makes a reasonable person feel humiliated, uncomfortable, or mentally distressed, it is not necessarily of a sexual nature.
The law doesn’t prohibit offhand comments, isolated incidents that are not very serious, or simple teasing. Harassment becomes illegal when it is so severe or frequent that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment, or it results in an unjust employment decision, such as the victim being fired.
Sex-based harassment at work can include offensive remarks about someone’s sex. Sex-based harassment is illegal, as gender is a protected characteristic under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by repeatedly making offensive comments about women in general.
Sexual harassment at work is a form of sex discrimination. It is also illegal under the Civil Rights Act and includes unwanted sexual advances, sexual comments, sexual assault, pornography, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Both the harasser and the victim can be either men or women, and they can be of the same sex or different sexes. The harasser could be a supervisor, co-worker, or even a client or customer.
The Illegality of Sexual Harassment
Our sexual harassment attorneys in San Antonio often speak to victims who are confused about what is classified as illegal and actionable sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurs under two sets of circumstances:
- When harassment leads to a hostile work environment
- “Quid quo pro” harassment is where an employee is denied benefits or compensations such as advancement or pay because of their refusal to engage in unwelcome sexual activity.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
This type of sexual harassment at work occurs when someone subjects you to continuous remarks about your body, engages in unwanted physical touching, requests sexual favors, or makes suggestive comments about sexual acts, and other unwanted sexual conduct.
Generally, harassment must be sufficiently pervasive or severe to impact the conditions of the victim’s employment, thereby creating an abusive work environment.
If you feel anxious about going to work because of continual sexual harassment, or if it has caused you to resign, then it is severe enough for you to hold an employer responsible. Even if an employer was not the one to harass you, if they should have known and could have taken steps to stop it then they can be held responsible.
If you are harassed by another employee, client, or anyone else in the workplace, it is important that you report it to your employer. If they fail to act then they can be held liable for the conduct of a third party.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addresses both ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ sexual harassment. Positive sexual harassment is where an employer rewards an employee for submitting to sexual harassment.
For example, if an equally-qualified employee is denied a promotion in favor of another employee who participated in sexual banter or performed sexual favors, then the employee who was denied the promotion can sue for sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
‘Quid pro quo’ is a Latin phrase that means an exchange of goods or services. This type of harassment involved a demand for sexual favors in exchange for work advancement, such as a raise or change in the job title.
Our San Antonio sexual harassment lawyers often see cases where victims are terminated, demoted, or see a decrease in shifts for refusing to cooperate, which is also illegal.
You could also be a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment if a less qualified employee receives a promotion ahead of you because they granted sexual favors.
An employer can escape liability in a quid quo scenario if they took reasonable steps to prevent it and the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any protective opportunities to avoid the harm.
Reporting Sexual Harassment in San Antonio, TX
Usually, you are required to lodge a formal complaint with your employer before bringing a sexual harassment claim to a government agency or a court. Failure to do so may result in a forfeiture of your legal rights.
Your first point of contact may be your supervisor unless they themselves are the perpetrator. If so you may need to report directly to your supervisor’s supervisor, or your HR department. It is important that you make the report in writing and that you are able to prove that you did so.
Once you have gone through the proper methods with your employer, and if they fail to act, then you can make a claim against them with help from a sexual harassment attorney in San Antonio.
Evidencing Your Claim
Sexual harassment cases can be challenging to prove, it is often your word against theirs. You should document everything that happens in a journal and keep copies of any correspondence such as complaints to HR, or any other relevant documents.
In Texas, you are also permitted to make audio recordings of conversation without the other parties’ knowledge or consent, as long as you are in the same room as the recording device.
When you seek guidance from a San Antonio sexual harassment lawyer they can also help to obtain evidence and advise you on how to do so.
Compensation For Sexual Harassment in San Antonio, TX
If you have suffered sex-based harassment or sexual harassment in Texas, then you could be owed compensatory and punitive damages.
While compensatory damages pay victims for any expenses related to the discrimination such as those associated with medical expenses, lost wages, and searching, as well as compensation for any emotional harm such as loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish.
Punitive damages on the other hand are awarded to punish the employer who has committed an especially reckless or malicious act of discrimination.
Limits on Punitive & Compensatory Damages
There are limits to the number of damages you can recover from a harassment case, which vary depending on the size of the employer.
- For organizations with 15-100 employees, there is a $50,000 limit.
- For organizations with 101-200 employees, there is a $100,000 limit.
- For organizations with 201-500 employees, there is a $200,000 limit.
- For organizations with more than 500 employees, there is a $300,000 limit.
Deadline For Sexual Harassment Claims in Texas
When you have been sexually harassed, you have a limited amount of time to make a claim to protect your right to compensation. You should speak to a San Antonio sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible, as they will get right to work to ensure you have the strongest case possible.
You have just 180 days after the date you were discriminated against to file with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division (or cross-file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -EEOC) to preserve your claim under state law.
Under federal law, you must file with the EEOC (or cross-file with the state agency), within 300 days from the date you were discriminated against.
You could have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, so the sooner you seek representation from a sexual harassment attorney in San Antonio the better. Especially if you are a governmental employee, as the state may have certain immunities that are tricky to navigate.
The Right Sexual Harassment Attorney To Take On This Fight For You
Damages for sexual harassment, hostile work environment and other workplace harassment claims can be high, and employers often deny wrongdoing and will even protect harassers. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer in San Antonio can document the occurrences and emotional and economic harm, work to prove the guilt of the employer and work to secure a fair compensation for the victim.
Attorney Michael Galo has significant trial experience, and has tried numerous employment law cases in state and federal courts. He has also provided counsel and representation to employers in all areas of employment law, and knows how companies operate and how they defend against sexual harassment cases.
His unique experience serving both sides of sexual harassment cases, combined with his record of success, ensure he has the skill and knowledge to provide effective sexual harassment legal services.
Contact Our Employment Lawyers at Galo Law Firm Today
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, then it is essential that you seek guidance from a respected sexual harassment lawyer in San Antonio. You deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe and comfortable in your workplace.
At Galo Law Firm, our legal specialization has been employment law since 1994. Our experienced San Antonio employment attorneys will ensure that you follow all the proper legal steps so that your rights are protected. We will fight aggressively on your behalf whether you are the employee who has been sexually harassed or an employer who has been wrongfully accused.
Contact Galo Law Firm today and arrange a consultation with a San Antonio sexual harassment attorney at 210-361-8043