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Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Sexual harassment is an abuse of power that utilizes psychological intimidation to compel silent compliance. Survivors often believe they have too much to lose if they report the harassment. They may even blame themselves.

The attorneys at Milavetz Law, recognize and affirm that sexual harassment is never the victim’s fault. We are strong advocates of the brave individuals who come forward, and we will both protect your interests and empower you.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act

The state of Minnesota’s Human Rights Act protects the public from sexual harassment in the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Public accommodations
  • Public services
  • Education
  • Business

You can file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights within one year from the time the sexual harassment occurred. You must submit the following documents to file a charge:

  1. The charge
  2. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Notice
  3. The Notice of Authority
  4. The Consent to Release Information

Filing a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is not equivalent to filing a lawsuit, and you don’t need a lawyer to file the complaint. If you have an attorney, the MDHR will contact you through your attorney.

There is no situation in which unwanted sexual advances are legally permissible. If you experience such conduct in any setting, Milavetz Law can help you end the harassment, protect your position, and stop the abuse. Our legal professionals understand the delicacy of your situation and will treat your case with the utmost discretion.

What kind of compensation can I receive for my sexual harassment case?

You may be eligible to receive substantial compensation from the Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Justice Department, HUD, and other agencies.

You can also file a lawsuit and receive the following types of compensation:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Counseling costs
  • Punitive damages
  • Pain and suffering

What is sexual harassment?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lists sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Federal and state laws define sexual harassment as the following conduct:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with any of the following elements present:
    • Submission to the conduct as an expressed or implied condition of employment, public accommodation, public services, education, or housing
    • Rejection of the conduct could adversely impact the victim’s circumstances
    • The conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment

Examples of sexual harassment include the following:

  • Sexually suggestive or demeaning remarks, gestures, teasing, jokes, or notes
  • Unwelcome touching, fondling, or attempts to kiss
  • Requests for dates or sexual behaviors in exchange for promotions, public accommodations, housing, or educational benefits
  • Disparaging remarks about gender or sexual orientation
  • Embarrassing or sexually suggestive favoritism by persons in authority

Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment law places sexual harassment in two categories:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment: a benefit is granted or adverse action is withheld in exchange for compliance
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment: the place of employment, public accommodation, educational environment, or housing environment is uncomfortable due to the harassment

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

State and federal laws define workplace sexual harassment as either of the following:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment in exchange for promotions, pay raises, benefits, or employment itself
  • A hostile work environment perpetrated by superiors, coworkers, or customers

Employers who engage in or fail to address sexual harassment in the workplace are liable. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives employment discrimination claims.

Many victims of sexual harassment are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation. Title VII prohibits retaliation. The Minnesota Human Rights Commission receives claims of reprisal against employers who retaliate. Examples of retaliation include the following:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Denial of a promotion
  • Salary reduction
  • Undesirable scheduling changes
  • Any other adverse treatment

No one should have to endure sexual harassment for fear of losing employment. Our experienced employment law attorneys can protect your rights so you can report and stop sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment in Educational Institutions

A University of Minnesota Twin Cities study found that 18.7% of students reported sexual harassment, and 38.3% reported “harassing behavior.” This was as high as 50% for transgender and nonbinary students. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the state of Minnesota prohibit sexual harassment against university students.

Sexual Harassment by Law Enforcement

A national study by the Bowling Green State University revealed shocking examples of police abuse of power in the form of sexual harassment against the following:

  • Crime victims
  • Suspects
  • Female drivers at traffic stops
  • Inmates who were subjected to unwarranted strip searches
  • Teens in career exploration programs
  • Sex workers

Law enforcement is characterized by a highly-masculine hierarchy, and sexual harassment against female officers is also rampant. Law enforcement has a history of ignoring sexual harassment by officers.

If you experience sexual harassment by a Minneapolis police officer, you can report it to the Minnesota Department of Human rights by calling the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or filling out this online form.

We are unintimidated by the so-called blue wall. We believe the law applies to law enforcement officers as it does to civilians and will vigorously pursue justice against law enforcement officers who victimize others.

Sexual Harassment in Health Care

As many as 27% of doctors, including males and females, experience sexual harassment by patients. Conversely, doctors and other medical staff have committed egregious sexual harassment offenses against patients, even threatening to withhold lifesaving care if sexual favors were not granted.

Patients have the right to be safe while receiving care, and health care providers have the right to a safe work environment. Regardless of your position, our lawyers are on your side if you experience sexual harassment in health care.

Security Personnel and Sexual Harassment

Bouncers and other security personnel are trusted to protect the public. Unfortunately, some abuse this trust and sexually harass patrons. In extreme cases, this rises to the level of rape, assault, and molestation.

Bars and nightclubs are notorious for harboring a culture of tolerance of sexual harassment. Bartenders and employees are often groped, degraded, and threatened by patrons. These hostile work environments constitute sexual harassment. The employment lawyers at Milavetz Law, P.A., are committed to helping victims hold these employers accountable.

Sexual Harassment in Housing

The Fair Housing Act specifically addresses sexual harassment and prohibits it in housing. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual conduct by property management that is “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to interfere with the “right to obtain, maintain, use, or enjoy housing” or that makes such enjoyments conditional upon compliance with the conduct.

Examples include the following:

  • Demanding sexual favors in exchange for rental application approval, repairs, or other services
  • Eviction for refusal to engage in sexual contact
  • A hostile environment

The U.S. Justice Department successfully forced a $736,000 settlement against M. Fruen Properties in Minneapolis on behalf of 23 women who experienced repeated sexual harassment and retaliation by management.

What should I do if I am being sexually harassed?

The most important actions you can take are as follows:

  • Document everything
  • Contact a Minneapolis sexual harassment attorney
  • Report the harassment to the appropriate authority

Our attorneys can provide advocacy and legal advice about documentation, reporting, and other legal issues.

Milavetz Law Empowers Sexual Harassment Survivors

If you have experienced sexual harassment, our law firm can help. You may be unsure of whether to proceed, but a free consultation at our law office will not obligate you to move forward

During your initial consultation, you will have an opportunity to tell your story in confidence and obtain legal advice about your options. You will receive empathy and support without pressure to move forward.

When you are ready to take legal action, we will provide vigorous advocacy.

We have nine law office locations throughout the Greater Minneapolis–St. Paul area. Call us today at 763-560-0000 or by filling out a form on our website to schedule your free case review.

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Practice Areas

Minneapolis Office Location

305 North 5th Avenue, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 339-0140

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Content Reviewed by:

Alan Scott Milavetz