People who were victims of sexual harassment at work, have the right to file a compensation claim. If a person was the subject of unwanted sexual advances, actions or comments of sexual nature, offensive comments about their gender, they could get a claim.
If the sexual harassment claim is successful, the victim could get a financial settlement; it would mainly depend on the type of harm the person suffered.
Some settlement include back and front pay, are created to compensate the person for their lost wages as a result of the sexual harassment.
There are other damages (pain and suffering) that should help the victim cope with the emotional stress caused by the harassment. Punitive damages are the punishment the employer will get if they failed to stop the harassment.
It is essential to know that sexual harassment lawsuits are often settled out of court (the cases don’t even get there). This happens mainly because the involved parties prefer to avoid time and costs with such legal actions. The victims prefer to avoid speaking publically, and employers don’t want to stain the image of their company. Regardless, you should contact an Indianapolis sexual harassment attorney today.
If a person was refused a promotion or denied a raise, or was fired because of sexual harassment, they might get a back pay. Back pay stands for the wages and benefits, and other compensation the person would have earned from the time of the negative employment decision up to the date of a jury award.
Back pay includes wages, commissions, tips, bonuses, value of any benefits (health insurance, life insurance), retirement benefits, vacation pay, sick pay and stock options or profit sharing.
The back pay is limited by federal law. The person could use up to two years from the time they file the lawsuit.
Back pay can be reduced if the person does not “mitigate” their damages. This means that the person failed to make enough efforts to minimize their financial loss. Under federal and state law, the victim should make a good faith effort to seek for another job in order to reduce their wage loss. If the victim seeks for a new job, but is unable to land it, they would be entitled to the full amount of their lost wages. If the victim finds a new job, their back pay award will be reduced by the amount of their new earnings. If the person earns $10,000 less than their old job, they would receive that amount in their back pay.
The federal law states that if a person loses their job or were forced to quit because of sexual harassment, they have the right to return to their old position (reinstatement).
In most cases this is not a smart move, nor it is possible. In most cases the old position is no longer available, or the relationship between the employee and the employer is hostile.
In such cases, the victim is eligible for an award of front pay. Front pay will compensate the person for the wage loss from the date of their judgment into the future.
Before the court decides to give you a front pay, it would have to determine the following:
- the age of the victim
- how long would it take the person to find a similar new job
- how long the person worked at their old workplace, and
- how long other employees in similar positions work for the employer.
The person should make good faith effort to “mitigate” their damages so they could get front pay.
Compensatory and punitive damages
Even if the person has not lost their wages, they still might be eligible to compensatory damages or punitive damages.
Compensatory damages provide compensation for the emotional stress the person went through because of the harassment (“pain and suffering”), ruined reputation, medical bills, job search and any other costs they had because of the harassment. The court may award punitive damages to punish the employer for their inability to stop the harassment. Punitive damages will be provided if the employer knew about the harassment but failed to take any steps to stop the situation.
The plaintiff, in some cases, may also get compensation for attorneys’ fees.
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, the best way to seek for your compensation is to hire a sexual harassment attorney.
This process may be complex and you would need someone who knows how to handle it.
Call us and schedule today.