The extent to which unwanted sexual advances and other forms of sexual harassment exist in work environments might come as a surprise to people. The amount of attention focused by the media on the inappropriateness of lewd comments, sexual innuendo and sexually explicit materials in the workplace should have created enough public awareness to make offices and workplaces in Maryland and elsewhere relatively free of such conduct. Sadly, 33 percent of young women responding to a survey reported being the victim of harassment in a work setting.
Unwanted sexual advances and other forms of sex discrimination might not be seen by the public as an ongoing problem because much of it goes unreported by women. The victim of harassment might be reluctant to file a sexual harassment claim or report an incident for fear of becoming the target of retaliation by an employer. Unlawful retaliation could take the form of the victim being given worse work hours than other employees or it could result in the firing of the person making the complaint.
What employers may not realize is that a hostile working environment in which lewd comments, offensive sexual comments and other forms of sexual harassment are allowed to go on without action being taken against those responsible for it affects productivity. A victim of harassment who is afraid to report an incident might attempt to avoid the situation by taking additional sick days or, in some cases, by quitting.
A person who has lost a job or been the target of a job demotion after making a sexual harassment claim might be entitled to sue for lost wages and other damages. The victim of harassment in the form of wrongful termination or unfair treatment might benefit from the advice and guidance of an employment law attorney.