Sexual Harassment Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, SC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives more than 11,000 complaints of sexual harassment from workers throughout the U.S. each year. The majority of those complaints are filed by women, although men may be the victims of this misconduct as well.
Occasional teasing or an isolated crude remark may not rise to the level of sexual harassment. However, according to the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC), conduct that would be harassment includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors
- Other verbal or sexual harassment that creates a “hostile work environment”
If you believe that you have suffered sexual harassment at work, you deserve to have your case thoroughly evaluated by an experienced employment law attorney. If a valid claim exists, you will need to take immediate steps to protect your rights.
Contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., today. We represent workers throughout Upstate South Carolina, including Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding areas.
‘Quid Pro Quo’ Sexual Harassment in South Carolina
One form of sexual harassment that may be grounds for a state or federal sexual harassment lawsuit is called “quid pro quo” harassment. In other words, a supervisor, co-worker or even a client or customer makes a sexual advance or asks for you to perform a sexual favor, promising favorable treatment or threatening punishment if you refuse.
To establish a claim, you would need to show:
- The harassment occurred within the context of your employment (not in a non-work-related social setting).
- The person promised or threatened a work-related action.
- The person was in a position (or reasonably seemed to be) to carry out the promise or threat.
‘Hostile Environment’ Sexual Harassment in South Carolina
Another form of sexual harassment involves the problem of a “hostile environment” in the workplace. This harassment does not have to be sexual. It could involve references to your gender.
The claim would require establishing proof that:
- You were “subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature”
- But for your gender, you would not have been subjected to this harassment
- The harassment:
- Affected a term or condition of your employment, and/or
- Had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the work environment, and/or
- Created an “intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment”
- Your employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take steps to put an end to it.
Steps for Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit in South Carolina
If you believe that you are being sexually harassed on the job, you can report it to your employer. If that does no good, then the South Carolina Human Affairs Law and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act offer you a path to relief.
However, you must take steps that include:
- Filing a formal complaint – You must file a complaint with the SCHAC or EEOC. You must file it within 180 days of the act of harassment to preserve your right to file a lawsuit in state court and within 300 days to preserve your right in federal court.
- Participating in an investigation – The agency will investigate your case. This may involve reviewing employment records, subpoenaing documents and correspondence (including e-mails) and interviewing witnesses. You will need to cooperate in this investigation (but should do so with advice from an attorney).
- Going through mediation – You may be asked to go through mediation. This could resolve your complaint in a peaceful way without having to go to court.
- Going to a hearing – The SCHAC may conduct a hearing about your complaint before a panel that will make findings and reach conclusions about your case.
- Filing a lawsuit – Once you have “exhausted your administrative remedies,” you will be able to pursue relief in state or federal court. You must file an action within 90 days of getting your “right-to-sue” letter from the EEOC and within 120 days (or one year of the date of the harassment, whichever comes sooner) of getting your SCHAC letter.
The complaint could be filed in your local Upstate South Carolina state court or in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Keep in mind: Damages available in federal court exceed those available in state court. A jury trial is also available in federal court. For these reasons, it may be in your best interest to seek relief through a federal court action.
Contact Our Upstate South Carolina Sexual Harassment Attorneys
The employment law attorneys of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can carefully navigate your case through the administrative process and advise you on filing a lawsuit if one is needed.
Our law firm features a team of attorneys who are licensed to practice in both state and federal courts in South Carolina. We bring not only skill and experience to our cases but a passion as well for standing up for the rights of workers.
To learn more about how we can assist you with your sexual harassment case, call or contact us online today.
Sources / More information
- Title 1, Administration of Government (Chapter 13, State Human Affairs Commission), South Carolina Legislature
- Employees & Job Applicants, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission