Kansas Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you experience workplace sexual harassment in Kansas you may be eligible to file a claim against the person responsible for the sexual harassment.

Kansas has very strict laws that protect citizens against sexual harassment in the workplace.. The Kansas Act Against Discrimination prohibits sexual harassment in Kansas workplaces. The law applies to all public employers and private employers with four or more employees.

What Kansas State Laws and Federal Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment?

Kansas State laws prohibit harassment in the following situations:

  • direct sexual conduct where a supervisor or co-worker makes unwanted sexual advances;
  • quid pro quo harassment  which is when advantages are offered by employers in return for sexual favors;
  • when a hostile work environment is created due to sexual or threatening behavior in the workplace.

Workplace sexual harassment complaints are handled directly by the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) or the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment may come in different forms, but is commonly unwelcomed sexual advances which can affect the victim’s employment status such as making it difficult for high quality work performance to be kept up because of the hostile work environment as a result of the sexual harassment.

Other examples of sexual harassment could be any of the following:

  • advances or propositions;
  • demand for sexual favors;
  • flirting;
  • highlighting someone’s sexual deficiencies;
  • leering, whistling, touching or pinching a co worker;
  • repetitive sexual jokes;
  • verbal abuse with a sexual nature;
  • verbal commentary about an individual's body.

How is Sexual Harassment Covered by Law in Kansas?

Sexual harassment as a type of sex discrimination violates the federal law found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

Under Kansas law, employers are required to establish and post company policies in a public area in the workplace explaining how sexual harassment is monitored and handled. Employers cannot retaliate against any employee who has alleged sexual harassment in a claim.

Where Can a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim be Filed in Kansas?

A sexual harassment claim can be filed either with the Kansas state administrative agency, the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) or the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

These two agencies have what is referred to as a "work-sharing agreement," which means that the agencies cooperate with one another when processing claims.

Filing a claim with both agencies isn’t required as long as you inform one of the agencies that you wish it to "cross-file" the claim with the other agency.

The Kansas sexual harassment laws cover smaller employers that are not covered by federal law. If your workplace has from 6 to 14 employees, you can file with the KHRC, as the EEOC follows the federal law which covers employers with just 15 or more employees.

If your workplace has at least 15 employees, you may file your complaint with either of the two agencies. The KHRC offices are in Topeka, Wichita, Dodge and Independence while the EEOC office is in Kansas City.

How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in Kansas?

You shouldn’t wait too long before contacting the KHRC or EEOC to file a claim. There are strict time limits called statute of limitations ,so in order to preserve your claim under state law, you should file with the KHRC within 6 months of the date you believe you suffered sexual harassment.  Under federal law, you must file your claim with the EEOC within 300 days of the sexual harassment incident.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment in a Kansas workplace taking the following steps can help your case:

  • reporting the harassment to your employer’s human resources department, or any other person delegated the responsibility for receiving and processing sexual harassment in the workplace complaints;
  • recording in writing the precise sexual harassment incidents including both the dates and times of the Kansas sexual harassment;
  • keeping any proof used by the Kansas sexual harasser like texts, letters, voicemails and emails;
  • asking witnesses to write accounts confirming that you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Getting Help Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in Kansas

If you have the evidence at your fingertips proving that you have been the victim of Kansas workplace sexual harassment, you should contact an employment lawyer.

An experienced lawyer can assess the facts of your Kansas workplace sexual harassment case, and advise you how to proceed, and if required represent you at any court proceedings if negotiations outside of the court have been unsuccessful.