I was a victim of sexual harassment but didn’t lose any money, do I still have a claim?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Not all sexual harassment results in lost income. If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you may have suffered emotional distress and other intangible damages. These damages may still be considered an actionable loss, even though they were not monetary, as long as you have sufficient proof you were harassed and harmed by that harassment. In certain sexual harassment claims, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are damages designed not to pay you back for loss but instead to punish a defendant who has engaged in especially bad behavior.

Sexual harassment in the workplace takes several forms, although most people are probably most familiar with quid pro quo harassment. When you experience quid pro quo harassment, essentially that means the terms of your job are in some way affected by whether you will engage in sexual behavior. For example, if you were told you would be promoted if you slept with your boss, or if you were fired or didn’t get a promotion because you wouldn’t sleep with your boss, this is an example of quid pro quo harassment. This type of sexual harassment can and often does result in a direct financial loss.

However, there is another type of harassment called hostile work environment harassment. This occurs when someone, a boss, a coworker or anyone at your job, makes your work environment unpleasant based on your sex. If you are a female, for example, it might be hostile work environment if the males around your office constantly make jokes about sexual relations with women and post sexually explicit pictures around the office in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. This may not cause you to actually lose any money, but it can still give rise to legal action.

If you believe you may have a case for any type of sexual harassment, you should consult with a sexual harassment attorney who can assess your situation and help you determine what options you may have.

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