Sexual harassment in education is a serious issue that is illegal under Illinois law. The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) prohibits discrimination in education based on sex, which includes sexual harassment.
Elements of Sexual Harassment in Education
To prove sexual harassment in education under Illinois law, you have to show:
- You were or are a student at an educational institution. “Education institution” covers pretty much every type: elementary, high school, and college.
- You were subjected to unwanted sexual advances, comments, or conduct. This includes things like sexual jokes or promises for a better grade in exchange for sexual favors.
- The harassment was severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive educational environment. This usually means multiple instances of sexual harassment, but can be just a single act if it’s sever enough (like an unwanted touching).
Your attorney will gather evidence such as witness statements, written communications (like emails and text message), or any other documents that can show the sexual harassment in education.
Teachers and Professors can be Liable for Sexual Harassment in Education
Who can be liable for sexual harassment in education? Besides the school, Illinois covers teachers and professors, school staff, administrative personnel, and other faculty as well. It doesn’t just extend to teachers and professors.
Money Damages in Sexual Harassment in Education
If sexual harassment in education is proven, you may be able to get damages under Illinois law. These damages usually include monetary damages for emotional distress caused by the sexual harassment in education. It also includes actual financial damages that you sustained as a result of the sexual harassment in education discrimination.
For example, what if you had to withdraw from the semester because of the sexual harassment but it was too late to get a tuition refund? Then you can ask the judge to award you financial damages for that. Obviously, the amount of damages a sexual harassment in discrimination victim will receive depends on the facts of the case and the evidence admitted.
Your attorney can make sure that the judge considers all the necessary evidence to give them a better picture of the damages you sustained.
Sexual Harassment in Education Trial
How will a sexual harassment in education trial look like? It’s actually pretty similar to any other trial. Your attorney will ask you questions on the stand, then the other side’s attorney will do the same. Then your attorney will ask the harasser questions.
Any documentary evidence such as emails or text messages will also be entered into evidence. Your lawyer will then argue the case to the judge and explain how they’ve proven sexual harassment in education occurred and request a specific amount of damages. The judge will then make a decision.
Should you try this alone? Absolutely not. It might sound easy and straightforward (and you might actually do a good job at it), but you are already dealing with the stress of the harassment itself. You don’t need a whole legal trial on your plate as well.
Having an attorney handle the legal piece will allow you to take care and heal yourself from the trauma. And your attorney knows the rules and procedure already, so you don’t have to learn it for the first time ever. Send us a message and we’ll let you know our thoughts and if we can take on your case.