Sexual harassment in the workplace can create a hostile working environment, making it difficult for the person being harassed to perform their job duties. While the victims most commonly are women, both men and women can be targets of sexual harassment, which includes uninvited sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. If you are a victim of workplace harassment, Florida law provides the legal option to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator and your employer to seek compensation for the trauma you have been forced to endure.
An experienced Tallahassee sexual harassment lawyer can help you pursue sexual harassment compensation. Contact Cruz Law Firm, P.A., today for a free consultation.
What Is the Average Sexual Harassment Settlement for Florida Victims?
It can be tricky to determine an average workplace sexual harassment settlement since every case is different. Many factors affect a workplace sexual harassment settlement, including the specific facts of the case, how long the harassment lasted, the harm caused, and other factors.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOC) said that in a recent three-year period, the agency recovered $229.8 million in compensation for 8,147 sexual harassment victims. This is a little over $28,000 per victim, on average.
Current National Statistics on Sexual Harassments Settlements
The EEOC provides the following statistics about sexual harassment victims in Florida in the most recent year data was available:
- 425 complainants were women
- 66 complainants were men
- Florida victims made up 9 percent of the nation’s total
Some recent sexual harassment cases in which the EEOC was involved resulted in the following awards for the victims:
- A $1 million plus settlement against Del Laboratories
- A $400,000 settlement paid by McDonald Oil Company
- A $120,000 settlement paid by Corning
- A nearly $2 million settlement paid by a McDonald’s franchise
Factors Influencing Sexual Harassment Settlement Amounts
Many sexual harassment lawsuits are settled out of court. Cases that go to court may result in a greater award for the victim, although a particular outcome can never guaranteed.
Some of the factors that could influence the amount of a workplace sexual harassment settlement may include:
- Whether the company had prior knowledge of the harassment? Were there multiple victims? Does the company have a history of covering up workplace harassment claims?
- How severe was the harassment? Were you assaulted, or was the harassment limited to working in a toxic workplace environment?
- How often did the harassment occur, and how long did it persist?
- Were you a victim of quid pro quo harassment, which is the exchange of sexual favors for workplace perks, such as raises and promotions? Were you threatened with termination or demotion if you refused to grant sexual favors?
- Were there multiple victims? Often, cases with multiple victims or class-action suits result in higher settlements for each victim.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover
Victims of a sexual harassment suit may claim compensation for multiple losses. Sexual harassment can cause emotional anguish and damage a person’s self-esteem and career. Compensation may help you while you seek a new job and provide money for missed opportunities you may have had in your old position.
Your settlement may include compensation for:
- Front pay: Front pay is compensation for unearned wages if you lose your job or have to quit because the situation at your workplace is unbearable. Victims who were fired might seek reinstatement of employment, although many may not wish to return to the workplace where the harassment occurred. Front pay covers wages you would have earned from the time you lost or left your job until the time you find comparable employment.
- Back pay: This is compensation for other monies you should have been entitled to, such as a lost raise or bonus, commissions, pension or retirement contributions, profit-sharing or stock options, health and life insurance benefits, and paid time off. You may seek back pay for the period of time from when you leave your old employer until you find comparable employment and similar benefits.
If you work for a private company, you may also be eligible to seek punitive damages if your case goes to court. These discretionary damages may be awarded if a jury determines that the employer was aware of the harassment but maliciously failed to correct the situation.
How to Calculate a Potential Sexual Harassment Claim Settlement
An experienced attorney can properly value a sexual harassment claim, considering the value of your lost earning potential, front and back pay amounts, career damage, and your pain and trauma.
Federal law limits the amount victims may receive in compensation for emotional damages based on the number of employees at the workplace.
- $50,000 for employers with 15-100 employees
- $100,000 for employers with 101-200 employees
- $200,000 for employers with 201-500 employees
- $300,000 for employers with more than 500 employees
Typical Duration of a Settlement Process
Expect your sexual harassment lawsuit to take months or longer to resolve. Your attorney needs time to build your case, taking steps like deposing witnesses and evaluating your company’s personnel records to see if there is a history of complaints from other victims.
Settlement negotiations take time. You may go to mediation to try to achieve a compromise. If your case goes to court, it can easily take more than a year from the initial filing to the conclusion.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Other compensation you may seek for a workplace sexual harassment suit can include having the other party pay your legal fees and other costs you incurred as a result of the harassment. This could include your job search expenses or additional vocational training you needed to find employment comparable to your old job.
You may also pursue compensation for your psychological trauma or, if you require medical treatment, money to cover those costs, too.
Are You a Victim of Sexual Harassment? We Can Help
Cruz Law Firm, P.A., offers free, confidential consultations to victims of workplace sexual harassment. Our compassionate attorneys can help you understand your legal rights. Pursuing a sexual harassment settlement can be difficult and stir up your emotions. You may be reliving trauma or required to face people who want to discredit you and your story. Qualified legal representation by a Florida workplace harassment lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
At Cruz Law Firm, our legal team has nearly 20 years of combined experience, focusing on workers’ rights and Florida anti-discrimination and harassment laws. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of employees harmed by workplace harassment and misconduct. Contact us today, and let us help you, too.