In Oregon, state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or age. One particularly pervasive form of discrimination occurs when a person is subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. Such harassment could take the form of inappropriate comments, touching, advances, or communications between employees or between a supervisor and employees. Sexual harassment can occur between members of the same sex or members of opposite sexes, and either man or a woman may be the harasser. It is important for anyone who is experiencing or has experienced sexual harassment to report the matter to the appropriate party within an organization, as well as to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). In addition, you should also contact one of the experienced employment discrimination attorneys of HKM as soon as possible to determine whether you have a claim and how best to proceed.
According to a report published at Oregonlive.com, a former Oregon Department of Justice employee has filed a claim against the agency alleging sexual discrimination based on his termination for allegedly “inappropriate” text messages. The plaintiff, Antonio Castaneda Jr., is arguing that other female employees sent him similar text messages but were not disciplined, and that the text messages created a hostile work environment. Among the alleged comments in the text messages are:
-Comments regarding his penis size based upon the size of his hands and feet
-Comments regarding walking around naked while at home
-Comments regarding the frequency of sex with their significant others
-Other personal matters
Under Oregon law, the party who engages in the harassment and the employer’s knowledge of the harassment will determine whether the employer can be held liable. For example, an employer can be held liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor if the harassment results in some sort of adverse employment action being taken against the employee who was harassed. If the harassment occurs between two employees, the employer can be held liable if the employer knew or should have known about what was occurring. If an employer can establish that the company took effective corrective action immediately after learning about the harassment and that the employee did not avail him or herself of internal procedures to rectify the situation, an employer may be able to avoid liability. Oregon law requires that an employee make a complaint to BOLI or file a lawsuit within one year of the last discriminatory act that took place.
Contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney today for a consultation
If you believe that you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you should contact one of the attorneys at HKM today.