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Can I File a Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Lawsuit if I am being harassed by a member of the same gender?

above-the-bar-logo-no12According to our Award-Winning Sexual Harassment Attorneys, the general answer is yes. As the result of recent court decisions about this issue, one employee received a $125,000 payment for compensatory damages, and four employees in a separate case received a settlement totally $85,000. The message of the courts is clear: sexual harassment in the workplace, regardless of the sex of the parties involved, is a serious issue that can result in costly settlements for companies. If you are being sexually harassed at wok by a member of the same sex, you need to call our office at (800) 893-9645 to arrange for a confidential consultation with our employment attorneys. Our Lead Employment Lawyer can be found by clicking here. When filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you need to consider the following: first, your employer is likely to put up a rigorous fight to defend themselves against your allegations. In fact, many such suits take years to resolve. Second, employers may decide to retaliate against your for filing a sexual harassment suit, which is unlawful and could be the basis of a retaliation complaint as well. With these considerations in mind and the fact specific nature of each case, you need to consult with an experienced attorney to protect your legal rights.

Have There Been Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Suits Litigated before the Courts?

Yes. There have been two recent decisions issued by the courts involving same-sex sexual harassment. One case involved an ironworker employed by Boh Brothers Construction, a firm based in Louisiana. While working on a bridge project for the company, Kerry Woods was subjected to sexual harassment by his male employer. According to Woods, his supervisor simulated having anal intercourse with him, made inappropriate sexual remarks questioning Wood’s masculinity, made sexually suggestive gestures and even exposed himself. In one incident, Wood’s supervisor criticized Wood’s use of wet wipes instead of toilet paper as being “feminine” and “kind of gay.” During the trial of the case, the supervisor sated that Woods, a heterosexual, was “feminine” and didn’t conform to the gender stereotype of “rough ironworkers.” When Woods complained to Boh Brothers’ management in 2006 about his supervisor’s behavior and remarks, he was sent home for three days for reasons that are unclear. Upon returning to work, Woods was reassigned to a different project. After he was laid off due to lack of work in 2007, Woods filed a sexual harassment suit against Boh Brothers.

After going through several appeals, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 68-page decision determining that Wood’s rights were violated under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court also ruled that gender stereotyping can form the basis of a sexual harassment claim under Title VII. As part of the settlement, Boh Brothers agreed to pay Woods $125,000.

Whether you’re a construction worker or an office worker, sexual harassment by members of the same sex can and does occur. If you believe you are the victim of same-sex sexual harassment, call our Employment Attorneys today. In another case involving same-sex sexual harassment, four male workers at Roy Farms, a company based in Washington, filed a lawsuit claiming that their male supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed them over a period of two years. According to the workers, the supervisor made vulgar statements expressing his interest in having sex with the workers. In addition, the supervisor caressed their faces, backs and buttocks in a sexually suggestive manner. When the workers complained to Roy Farms’ management about their supervisor’s remarks and behavior, the company failed to act upon the information. In fact, one worker left the company because he feared for his safety. While Roy Farms didn’t admit to any wrongdoing of the supervisor, the company agreed to pay the four workers a total of $85,000. Roy Farms was also ordered to provide their managers with training about sexual harassment and to make it easier for workers to file such complaints.

In both cases, the courts have made it clear that employees can bring about sexual harassment lawsuits involving members of the same sex. The issue is not to be taken lightly and can result in hefty settlement payments for companies. If you are the victim of same-sex sexual harassment, contact the law office of Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to consult with one of our attorneys about you legal rights.

Links Used to Research This Article:
http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20140228/NEWS07/140229837
http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130930/NEWS07/130939979

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