Representing Chicago and
the Entire State of Illinois
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, the state law which governs sexual harassment in Illinois, certain comments and conduct may give rise to a sexual harassment claim in Chicago and throughout Illinois. So what types of comments would this include and does it matter who makes the comments? Under the law, any attempts to have a sexual relationship may give rise to a claim. If an employee is making the request, the employee must reject the advance and report the conduct to management. The company at that point has a legal duty to stop any future conduct for happening. If the person making the request is a supervisor, there is immediate and strict liability toward the company and nothing further must be done by the employee. So if the comments are sexual in nature and are attempts at a sexual relationship, under the law, an employee may be able to file an immediate claim depending on who is making the comments.
Sexual comments would include comments about a person’s anatomy that are sexual in nature. So comments about a person’s breasts, buttocks, vagina and other body parts would fall into this category. Also if the comments involve sexual acts they would also fall into this category. Of course, comments made one-on-one without witnesses present, are the most difficult to prove. I have other articles that discuss how best to try and get evidence to prove what is being said one-on-one. And to have a stronger case, it would be important that the comments happen more than once or twice. They need to rise to the point where they are creating a hostile work environment for the employee. Employers would do well to spend money up front training their employee on the proper and professional way to conduct themselves while at work. This will save the company money and negative publicity down the road.
Other comments that are not requests for sex can also be considered actionable under the law. So for example if the supervisor refers to you as “bitch” or “slut” these words create an intimidating and unprofessional atmosphere and may result in a claim. There is no legitimate reason for using such language in the workplace and if the supervisor is using it, immediate liability may attach. This is where an experience employment lawyer can review your case and give you the best advice on what to do next. Of course the lawyer can’t review the case if you don’t first take action and make a call or send an email. If you wait too long, the time for filing may be lost. As an employee in Chicago, you have certain legal rights and you must take the first step to protecting those rights.
If the supervisor sends the comments to you via a text message or email, save them at once. Also print out copies for your own file and share those with your attorney. Text messages and email are the best types of evidence and will go a long way to proving your case. It is very hard to deny comments that are written down and show the phone number or email address of the sender. Don’t let negative unprofessional comments ruin your job in Chicago. Sexual harassment is a very serious form of discrimination and you have a legal right to be free from it in Illinois.
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