What You Need to Know About Sexual Harassment In Illinois
Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment accuser list is growing. How many women, in this case, and others chose to suffer in silence?
Often, sexual harassment victims chose to not come forward because of being too scared or embarrassed to report this kind of behavior in the workplace. It is disgusting and unacceptable. And it's a crime itself that a victim feel they have no option.
The fact that it has been going on for decades with this man and just coming to light now is so sad. How many of these incidents could have been avoided if it was exposed the first time it happened? I feel so bad that society has created such a stigma when it comes to sexual harassment, rape, etc. I felt it was important to review our rights in Illinois so if this happens or has happened to anyone reading this, maybe it will encourage you to come forward. No one should have to endure any kind of abuse or harassment of any kind.
Sexual Harrassment is defined by Illinois law as the following:
"Any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment."
Punishment for the crime could be punitive, compensatory, or criminal if the harassment is deemed a criminal act.
Remedies available to the victim include:
- Back pay
- Front pay (compensates the victim for anticipated future losses)
- Compensatory damages (emotional pain and suffering)up to $300,000 depending on the size of the company
- Punitive damages (damages to punish the employer)
- Other actions that will make an individual "whole" (in the condition she or he would have been but for the harassment.
- Payment of attorneys' fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
Don't be afraid to come forward and report it. You could be preventing it from happening to others in the future.