What Should I Do If My Boss is Sexually Harassing Me?

sexually harassed by manager

Being sexually harassed by your boss or a supervisor is a difficult and unsettling situation. You should be able to feel safe, respected, and free from sexual coercion or inappropriate conduct at your workplace.

When that dignity is stripped away by the person who has power over your livelihood, it can leave you feeling trapped, afraid, and unsure of where to turn.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment perpetrated by those in positions of power is all too common. A significant number of employees report witnessing or experiencing bullying, harassment, and other misconduct on the job. One of the most prevalent and egregious examples is sexual harassment from a boss or supervisor.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment from a Boss?

Sexual harassment from a boss or supervisor can take many forms, including:

  • Unwanted physical contact or sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for promotions, raises, or continued employment (quid pro quo harassment)
  • Verbal harassment, such as making sexual comments, jokes, or innuendos
  • Non-verbal harassment, such as displaying sexually explicit materials or making inappropriate gestures
  • Creating a hostile work environment through severe or pervasive sexual behavior or comments

It’s important to note that the harassment does not have to be explicitly sexual in nature. Other behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment based on an employee’s gender could constitute sexual harassment.

What Should You Do if Your Boss is Sexually Harassing You?

If your boss or supervisor is sexually harassing you, take immediate action to protect your rights and well-being. Here are some steps you should consider:

Document Everything

Keep a detailed record of all incidents of harassment, including dates, times, locations, witnesses, and specific details of what was said or done. Save any emails, text messages, or other evidence that support your claims.

Review Your Company’s Sexual Harassment Policy

Most employers have policies and procedures for reporting and addressing sexual harassment complaints. Review your company’s policy and follow the outlined steps for reporting harassment internally.

Report the Harassment to Human Resources or Upper Management

If your company has designated the Human Resources Department or an upper-level manager as responsible for receiving complaints, report the harassment to them in writing. Provide copies of your documentation and request a prompt investigation.

Consult with an Employment Law Attorney

Even if you have reported the harassment internally, consulting an experienced employment law attorney may be helpful. An attorney can advise you on your legal rights, guide you through the process, and try to protect you from potential retaliation.

File a Complaint with the Appropriate Government Agency

If your employer fails to take appropriate action or retaliates against you for reporting the harassment, you may need to file a formal complaint with a governmental agency such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Can the Company Be Held Liable When a Boss Sexually Harassed Employees?

In cases where a boss or supervisor perpetrates sexual harassment, the company could be held legally responsible under the principle of vicarious liability. Supervisors are considered agents of the employer, and their actions are seen as representing the company itself.

It’s important to note that an employer’s liability could extend beyond the harasser’s immediate supervisor. If upper management or others in leadership positions were aware of the harassment or should have been aware of it, the company may still be considered responsible for allowing a hostile work environment to exist.

Potential Remedies for Victims of Sexual Harassment

If your boss has sexually harassed you, you may be entitled to various remedies through legal action.

These can include:

  • Back Pay — If you were fired, demoted, or otherwise lost wages or benefits due to the harassment, you could attempt to recover the lost income or value of the benefits.
  • Reinstatement — If you were wrongfully terminated due to the harassment, the court may order your employer to reinstate you to your former position (or could order front pay in lieu of reinstatement).
  • Compensatory Damages — You may be awarded compensatory damages for any emotional distress, pain and suffering, or other non-economic losses caused by the harassment.
  • Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs — If you prevail in your sexual harassment case, the employer may be required to pay your attorney’s fees and legal costs.

It’s important to note that the specific remedies available can vary depending on the circumstances of your case and the applicable state and federal laws.

Contact BT Law Group Today

Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable, and no one should have to endure it. If your boss is sexually harassing you, take action and seek legal counsel.

At BT Law Group, our employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling sexual harassment cases involving supervisors. We understand the power dynamics and challenges you may face when speaking up against your boss.

Our team can help you hold your employer accountable and protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation and learn how we can help you navigate this challenging situation.

Author Bio

BT Law Group is an employment law firm in Miami, FL, founded by attorneys Jason D. Berkowitz and Anisley Tarragona. With a wealth of experience in various legal areas, they represent clients in various legal matters, including discrimination, unpaid wages, wrongful termination, management counseling, and other cases.

Since receiving their Juris Doctorates from the University of Miami School of Law, they have received numerous accolades for their accomplishments, including being selected to Rising Stars by Super Lawyers. Jason was also selected to The 2021 Best Lawyers in South Florida.

State Bar Association | Linkedin | Facebook | Google