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Sexual harassment is unlawful. Under both state and federal regulations, employers can be held liable for harassment. At Pierce / Jewett, our Virginia sexual harassment lawyers have been a leader in employment litigation for individuals and organizations throughout the areas of Central Virginia and Eastern Virginia.  

We understand all sides of sexual harassment claims, — our employment lawyers have experience representing both employees and employers. No matter the circumstances of your case, we are prepared to take action to protect your rights and interests. To set up a strictly confidential, no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney, please call us at our law office. 

Virginia Sexual Harassment Lawyers Offering Dynamic, Strategic Representation

Not only does sexual harassment remain a serious problem in the workplace, but it is also systematically underreported. According to a study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), approximately 75 percent of workplace sexual harassment victims state that they never actually report the misconduct. No one should be forced to deal with sexual harassment at their job. It is critical that both individuals who are the victim of sexual harassment and employers who become aware of it take quick action to remedy the situation. And, although we believe that meritorious claims of sexual harassment should be resolved at the lowest level, our sexual harassment attorneys prosecute sexual harassment claims in federal court if no solution is reached. 

For employers, all reports or allegations of workplace sexual harassment must be taken seriously. We provide consultative services to management to create and implement effective sexual harassment policies and procedures that not only help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace but also help limit liability moving forward.  Our Virginia sexual harassment lawyers have the skills and training to conduct cost-effective, independent workplace investigations for employers.

We will help you take action to investigate claims, assess the matter, and resolve the issue at the lowest possible level when it is in the client’s best interest to do so. We also defend charges of discrimination through the EEOC, and, if the case is taken to the next level, we defend the firm’s business clients in federal court. Each sexual harassment case is different. We offer knowledgeable and reliable legal representation to employers in Virginia.  

There Are Two Types Of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment claims generally fall under one of two situations. One situation involves quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment refers to situations when a manager or someone in a supervisory capacity offers employment benefits in exchange for sexual acts.

In other words, quid pro quo harassment involves a supervisor/manager ‘extorting’ an employee. The other and more common form of sexual harassment involves a hostile work environment. In a hostile work environment, an employee may have to deal with a wide range of lewd conduct, such as:

  • Uninvited touching or hugging;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances; 
  • Suggestive remarks or comments on a person’s appearance, clothing, or looks; and
  • Suggestive jokes or lewd remarks.

Hostile work environment claims are complicated. They must always be assessed on a fact-specific basis. To be deemed a ‘hostile work environment’ an employee must have been forced to endure inappropriate conduct to the point that it would make a reasonable person feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or intimidated.

Understanding The Obligations Of Virginia Employers

In Virginia, employees are protected against sexual harassment under both federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and state law, including the Virginia Human Rights Act. Employers need to take immediate action to address any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the workplace. 

For Virginia employees who have experienced sexual harassment, they may be able to resolve the issue directly with their employer. In fact, before bringing legal action, employees should generally notify their employer of the issues so that the company can take appropriate action, although there are some circumstances where such notification may not be appropriate or required. If the issue cannot be resolved satisfactorily, additional action may be required.

For Virginia employers, a lawyer can help to take proactive steps to put the right policies in place to prevent and stop workplace sexual harassment. In addition, should complaints arise, a Virginia employer lawyer will be able to investigate the matter and offer guidance on how to proceed with the issue.

Workplace Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

Employers cannot simply claim ‘ignorance’ of the matter to escape liability for sexual harassment. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for companies to put strong anti-sexual harassment policies in place and to proactively and thoroughly investigate complaints. When allegations of misconduct are reported, immediate action not only helps to promote a better, more fair workplace —it protects the company. 

Employees who report sexual harassment cannot be punished for doing so. Indeed, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against someone who reports sexual harassment. A worker who faces any type of pushback or adverse treatment for trying to report workplace sexual harassment should call a Virginia employment lawyer right away.  

Why Work With Our Virginia Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Sexual harassment claims are complex. These cases should always be handled with the highest level of care and sensitivity. At Pierce / Jewett, our Virginia sexual harassment lawyers are strong, effective advocates for employers and employees.

Our deep understanding of all sides of these cases puts us in a better position to serve our clients. Among other things, we are prepared to: 

  • Listen to your story and understand your case;
  • Answer your questions and explain your options;
  • Investigate the sexual harassment — organizing evidence; and
  • Take action to protect your rights. 

Employers and employees deserve fully personalized legal representation. We handle every sexual harassment claim with diligence, care, and discretion. Our Virginia employment lawyers will always take the time to understand the unique situation so that we can help you achieve the solution that works best for you or your organization. 

Contact The Labor And Employment Division Of Pierce / Jewett

At Pierce / Jewett, our Virginia employment law attorneys have the skills and experience needed to handle the complete range of sexual harassment claims. We represent both employees and employers. To arrange a fully private review of your case, please call us at 757-624-9323 or complete our online contact form

From our office locations in Virginia, we handle sexual harassment claims throughout Central Virginia and the Hampton Roads, including in Petersburg, Glen Allen, Chesapeake, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Portsmouth.