Here in 2021, lots of things are making comeback. One of them is the company holiday party. Just like before, holiday parties pose a special set of challenges and risks, and one of those often is sexual harassment. If you’ve been the target of sexual harassment at work, whether that harassment occurred at your company holiday party or elsewhere, you should reach out to an experienced Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer without delay to learn more about the legal options that may exist for you.
Sexual harassment (and the increased prevalence of it) at holiday parties may happen for a variety of reasons. For one, the setting (as many company holiday parties occur outside the physical office space) may lead some people to drop their inhibitions and feel freer to engage in inappropriate behavior. For another, many company holiday parties come with a degree of (and sometimes unlimited) access to alcohol, with those beverages serving as the fuel that further lowers some people’s inhibitions that would otherwise stop them from engaging in harassing behavior.
Recently in the news is a gaming company and the allegations of sexual harassment that, for people who’ve been the victim of holiday party sexual harassment, likely sound all too familiar.
The company, a video gaming entity based in Santa Monica, California, is currently being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) following a two-year investigation into harassment at the company’s workplace.
Many women spoke out about the harassment they endured while working for the company and, for several of those women, that harassment occurred at the company’s holiday party. One woman, according to the Washington Post, recounted a male coworker kissing her in front of the company CEO and others at the 2012 party.
At another holiday party, male employees allegedly passed around an image of a female employee’s unclothed genital area. That harassment victim allegedly went on to commit suicide on a subsequent business trip, according to the DFEH lawsuit. Other women reported incidents of male coworkers attempting to touch them inappropriately on or near their breasts at yet another company holiday party, according to a report in The Verge.
Title VII and Sexual Harassment Lawsuits in Georgia
Here in Georgia, you have options if you’re the target of sexual harassment. Federal law (Title VII) prohibits workplace sexual harassment. So, while you may not have a state law claim, this federal law claim may be all you need to achieve a successful outcome.
To win a Title VII sexual harassment case, you need to prove that you were targeted because of sex, that the conduct was unwelcome, and that the harassment impaired your ability to do your job or otherwise created a “hostile work environment.”
Many times, getting a truly full recovery from your sexual harassment lawsuit means getting a judgment against your employer. Certain evidence can be especially powerful in a case against your employer. For example, if you brought your sexual harassment to the attention of your employer’s Human Resources Department and they either did nothing or else proactively swept the harassment “under the rug,” then evidence of that may enhance the employer’s potential liability. If your employer punished you for reporting the harassment, then you may have an additional basis for seeking compensation, which is a claim for retaliation, something that is also prohibited by Title VII.
Wherever it happened, workplace-related sexual harassment is something that shouldn’t have happened and, if it happened to you, you have rights, including bringing a civil lawsuit. If you are in need of legal representation concerning a potential case in Georgia, reach out to the knowledgeable Atlanta sexual harassment attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert. Our experienced team of dedicated litigators is here to be the powerful advocate you deserve. You can schedule an appointment by contacting us through this website or by calling 404-873-8048. Our phone lines are answered 24/7.