Sexual harassment in the workplace is not only unacceptable, it is against the law. Employees should know their rights and how an attorney can help if they are a victim of sexual harassment.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission prohibits employers from harassing a person because of his or her sex. This can include unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature or unwelcome sexual advances.
It applies to employers with 15 or more employees and to applicants or employees.
It is also against the law to harass a person by making offensive comments about a person’s sex in general. It does not have to be harassment from one gender to a different gender, either. The harasser can be male or female or they can be the same sex.
It can include harassment from co-workers, the employee’s supervisor, a business client or customer or an employee in another area of the organization.
Hostile work environment
While teasing, offhand comments or other incidents may not rise to the level of harassment, the behavior becomes illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment. A hostile work environment may include behavior that is intimidating or abusive and affects the employee’s work.
Harassment may also be evident where it results in an adverse employment decision. This may include the victim being fired or demoted.
It’s understandable that employees may not know where to turn if they are harassed in the workplace. An attorney can provide guidance and advice about how to address the situation.