Reports of sexual harassment in the workplace are making national headlines on a daily basis. From Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer, it is apparent that female employees are being subjected to extremely disturbing behavior and sexual advances by supervisors.
If you find yourself in a situation where a supervisor is making unwanted advances or displaying sexually aggressive behavior, there are important steps you can take to protect your legal rights and hold the employer accountable.
One of the first steps is to file a sexual harassment claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). Once you file the claim, an EEOC investigator will examine the claim and work to reach a resolution. If the EEOC for IDHR finds that sexual harassment took place, it could attempt to resolve the claim via settlement. For example, they may recommend mediation between you and your employer. These Agencies may also suggest that the parties engage in mediation before the investigation begins.
What Exactly is Mediation?
Mediation is categorized as an alternative dispute resolution with the objective of creating an environment where the two parties involved in a dispute work with or through a mediator to achieve an objective. The mediator works with both you and your employer as an unbiased third party to allow both parties to negotiate a resolution.
The Details of Your Claim Remain Private in Mediation
A potential advantage of working towards a resolution through mediation is the fact that you retain a level of privacy that is unavailable if you file a lawsuit in state or federal court. This is because court-filed records are public information. In mediation, you have the ability to keep the details of your claim private and between the parties yourself, including details concerning any settlement. It can also be a relatively quicker and less expensive way of resolving your claim.
Mediation Requires Collaboration
It is important to understand the objective of mediation – to achieve a resolution. This means you should not go into the mediation looking to settle a score or have your claim validated. You should be looking for a reasonable middle ground where you are properly compensated and can move on with your life.
Potential Compensation You Can Obtain Through Mediation
There are no restrictions to what might be obtained in mediation, but both parties must agree to the settlement terms. Some of the forms of compensation and relief that are typically discussed in mediation include the following:
- Financial restitution;
- The employee or employer who harassed you is relocated or transferred;
- Assistance with finding you new employment or allowing you to transfer to a different location, if you prefer; and/or
Chicago Employment Lawyer Here to Help
It is usually advisable to have an employment law attorney represent you in mediation who can maximize your chances of getting the best and most realistic result. If you were subjected to workplace sexual harassment, you have legal rights and can pursue a claim against your employer. To learn more about your legal rights, contact the experienced and skilled Chicago workplace harassment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich right away. We are here to help answer questions and address your concerns.