How to File a Harassment Lawsuit in Georgia
If you feel you have been a victim of harassment, The Reddy Law Firm, P.C. advises you to do two things: first, contact a lawyer for advice about your special circumstances; second, follow the procedure clearly outlined by state and federal law.
You can take certain well-defined steps, endorsed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Georgia State Department of Labor and other groups that support employee rights, to stop sexual harassment, including:
- Collect evidence — Keep a private diary. Write down incidents, the dates and times and how you felt. Make notes about all conversations you have about the abuse, both with the abuser and with the people who try to help you.
- Understand that there are two types of sexual harassment — Quid pro quo harassment is abuse tolerated by the victim in order to keep a job or be eligible for raises and benefits. Hostile work environment harassment interferes with a person's ability to work.
- Make a request — Simply ask the harasser to stop, in front of witnesses, if possible. Sometimes, just standing up to a bully is enough.
- Work within your employer’s personnel policies — Employers can be liable for the unlawful behavior of their employees, so employers are encouraged to take proactive steps to prevent harassment by clearly communicating to all employees that it is intolerable under company policy. They can also establish an effective complaint or grievance policy and procedure.
- Work with your employer — Contact human resources and follow the rules for making a formal complaint to your employer. If you work for a large firm, you may feel that you need legal guidance even at this point.
- File a complaint — Anyone who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated by sexual harassment may file a charge of discrimination with the Georgia Department of Labor or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may wish to have the help of a lawyer to do this, not least because your complaint may be filed on your behalf by an individual, organization or agency to protect your identity. When you file a charge, in addition to providing contact information for yourself or your representative, you must also be prepared to give the name, address and telephone number of the employer as well as the harasser’s name and job title. You’ll be asked to give a short description of the alleged sexual harassment, including specific dates. A charge must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the latest incident of abuse, but the deadline may be extended to 300 days to conform to Georgia law.
- File suit — You will receive a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. You will generally have only 90 days to file a lawsuit in federal court. Some state agencies have longer time limits.
Your lawyer will guide you through the lawsuit, negotiating on your behalf and representing you in court. Cooperate with your sexual harassment attorney as best you can.
You must be able to prove that you found the sexual harassing conduct offensive and that anyone else in your position would also have found the same conduct offensive.
The Reddy Law Firm, P.C. practices employment law, particularly those laws covering discrimination, which includes harassment. Attorney K.P. Reddy believes it is wrong for a bully to make you miserable in your job and unproductive in your work just for his or her entertainment or feeling of power. Attorney Reddy will listen to you compassionately to determine if you have a case. If you do, he will bring all his expertise and energy to the fight for your rights under the law.