In today’s professional landscape, fostering a safe and respectful working environment is not just a moral duty, but a legal obligation. Yet, many individuals still find themselves subjected to unsavory behaviors in their places of work. Understanding what constitutes workplace harassment in Michigan is paramount. Continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Marquette employment lawyer from Berger Law to learn more about what qualifies as workplace harassment and how our legal team can help if you’re a victim. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What Does Michigan Law Say About Workplace Harassment?
Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status. Harassment, which often stems from such discrimination, is deemed a violation of this Act.
- Sexual Harassment: This is one of the most discussed types of harassment. It can range from unwelcome comments or jokes to more severe behaviors like assault or requests for sexual favors. The key is that the behavior is unwanted and impacts the victim’s employment or creates a hostile work environment.
- Other Forms of Harassment: Discrimination isn’t limited to gender. Harassing someone because of their age, religious beliefs, or racial background, for instance, is equally harmful and unlawful.
What Should I Do If I Believe I’m Facing Harassment at Work?
No one should endure a hostile work environment. If you believe you’re a victim of workplace harassment in Michigan, consider the following steps:
- Documentation: Maintain a detailed record of each instance of harassment. Note the date, time, location, individuals involved, and any potential witnesses. This information can prove invaluable later on.
- Report the Issue: Before seeking external help, report the harassment to your supervisor, HR department, or as per the protocol laid out in your company’s handbook. This gives the employer an opportunity to address the situation.
- Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and state-specific laws. Understanding your rights empowers you to take informed actions.
How Can an Employment Lawyer Assist Me?
The complexity of workplace harassment cases demands a nuanced approach, and this is where a seasoned employment lawyer becomes invaluable.
- Understanding the Nuances: Every harassment case is unique. An attorney can help differentiate between unlawful harassment and unpleasant, yet lawful, behavior.
- Guidance on Next Steps: After assessing the details of your case, a lawyer can provide advice on the most appropriate course of action, whether that’s mediation, lodging an official complaint, or pursuing a lawsuit.
- Legal Representation: If your case escalates to a lawsuit, having an attorney ensures your rights are robustly represented. They can navigate the intricacies of Michigan’s employment laws, potentially securing compensation for damages endured.
- Protection Against Retaliation: Retaliation from employers, a genuine concern for many victims, is illegal. An attorney acts as a safeguard, ensuring that any retaliatory actions are promptly addressed.
Workplace harassment, an unfortunate reality for many, can have devastating effects on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. That said, everyone deserves respect and dignity in their place of work. If your rights as an employee have been violated in any way, contact Berger Law today for guidance.