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What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is an incredibly harmful and dangerous form of discrimination that persists in
the workplace today in seemingly epidemic proportions. We have seen sexual harassment occur
in our hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, public schools, higher education, government, large
national retail chains, professional offices, manufacturing firms and everything in between. No
one is immune. It can happen anywhere. The consequences are devastating.
Sexual harassment is a subset of sex discrimination, which is prohibited by, among other things,
the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. These laws apply to
employers with more than 15 employees. However, even in smaller workplaces, we have had
success obtaining relief for employees victimized by sexual harassment and related conduct.
Sexual harassment can take the form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors,
and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can come from a
supervisor, co-worker, or someone who is a client or customer of the employer. Although the law
does not prohibit simple teasing, isolated incidents, or off hand comments, sexual harassment is
illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it results in a hostile or offensive working environment,
or results in an adverse employment decision (i.e., the victim is terminated, demoted, or
Victims of sexual harassment can suffer from depression, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience,
anxiety, post traumatic stress, and feelings of loneliness, isolation and despair. If an adverse
employment decision is involved, victims also stand to lose significant income, in addition to their
What should I do if I have been sexually harassed at work?
1. Consult an attorney
You should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in handling sexual harassment claims at
the earliest possible moment you believe that you may have been subjected to sexual harassment.
2. File an internal report with your employer
If you suspect that you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, after consulting an
attorney, the first thing you should do is determine whether the company has a formal policy on
how to report sexual harassment.
The employer's sexual harassment policy will most typically be found in your employee
handbook. If at all possible, you should report the sexual harassment internally by following the
reporting procedures set forth in your employee handbook. It is important to reduce your
complaint to writing, and to send your complaint in a manner where you can obtain and save proof
of delivery. E-mail, for example, is often an effective way of conveying a sexual harassment
complaint. It is highly unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for making a report of
3. File a report with the EEOC or FCHR
If your employer cannot or does not correct the situation, the next step is to file a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Florida
Commission On Human Relations (FCHR). The EEOC and the FCHR are the federal and state
agencies, respectively, charged with preliminary responsibility for investigating claims involving
unlawful discrimination, including but not limited to sexual harassment.
In Florida, victims of sexual harassment must file a charge of discrimination with either the EEOC
within 300 days of the last discriminatory incident or the FCHR within 365 days of the last
discriminatory incident. In most cases, timely filing with either agency is the equivalent of filing
with both agencies, and is sufficient to preserve all of your rights under federal and state law.
Failure to timely file a charge of discrimination will result in the forfeiture of your claim.
Only after the EEOC or the FCHR concludes its investigation, will you have the opportunity to file
suit in state or federal court. Generally speaking, upon the conclusion of the EEOC investigation
and dismissal of your claim, you will have ninety (90) days to file suit to preserve your rights
under federal law, but you will also have four (4) years from the last discriminatory incident to file
suit to preserve your rights under state law.
The FCHR works a little differently. If the FCHR finds reasonable cause that the employer
violated the law, you will have one (1)
year from the reasonable causing finding to file suit under state law. If the FCHR fails to find
reasonable cause, and if the FCHR concludes its investigation within 180 days, then you must
request an administrative hearing within thirty (30) days to preserve your rights under state law.
If the FCHR fails to find reasonable cause, and also fails to conclude its investigation within 180
days, then you have four (4) years from the last discriminatory incident to file suit under state
law. Under any scenario, you still have ninety (90) days to pursue your federal claims upon
dismissal of the charge from the agency.
4. File a civil lawsuit in state or federal court
As discussed, once your charge of discrimination is dismissed from the EEOC or the FCHR, you
have a limited amount of time to bring a civil action against your employer to enforce your rights
in either state or federal court. In a civil lawsuit, you potentially could recover for your emotional
suffering, lost income, punitive damages, and your attorneys' fees and costs. You could also be
reinstated to your prior position or receive an award of future lost income.
Weldon & Rothman, PL handles sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis
At Weldon & Rothman, PL, our attorneys handle sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee
basis, meaning you do not owe us for attorneys' fees or court costs unless we make a financial
recovery on your case by settlement or judgment. We are available to advise you during the
employment relationship, help you write your internal complaint, prepare your EEOC charge of
discrimination, assist you during the EEOC process, attend EEOC mediation with you, and file suit
on your claim. Our attorneys fully appreciate the courage it takes to come forward with a sexual
harassment complaint, and, after your lawsuit is filed, we will fight tooth and nail, day after day,
on your behalf to enforce your rights and to hold your employer accountable.
Weldon & Rothman PL provides aggressive representation to victims of sexual harassment
throughout Southwest Florida, including Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Port
Charlotte, Immokalee, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Punta Gorda, and Sarasota.
We appreciate the trust you have shown in our law firm. Let us help you achieve the justice you
|Located in Naples, Florida, the attorneys at Weldon & Rothman, PL represent individuals and businesses throughout Southwest Florida. We are committed to representing residents of Naples, Fort
Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Ft. Myers, Golden Gate, Estero, Bonita Springs, Pelican Bay, Ave Maria, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Venice, Englewood, Osprey,
Sarasota, Arcadia, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Collier County, Lee County, Hendry County, Charlotte County, Sarasota County, and Manatee County, as well as those located in the Florida Keys.
|represent clients throughout SW Florida, including: Naples, Fort Myers, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Charlotte, and Sarasota.
attorney/client relationship or to be case specific legal advice. Please contact an attorney at Weldon & Rothman, PL to discuss your particular employment case, sexual harassment, sexual harrassment,
sexual harasment, hostile workplace, derogatory comments, touching, name calling, propositions, and unlawful acts.
This website is not intended to solicit clients outside of Florida.
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|Representing Southwest Florida
|Naples, Marco Island, Fort Myers, Sarasota
Tel: (239) 262-2141
7935 Airport-Pulling Rd N., Suite 205
Naples, FL 34109
Tel: (941) 309-5366
1990 Main Street, Suite 750
Sarasota, FL 34236
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|Toll Free: (877) 730-5180