Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Sexual harassment is a type of hostile work environment claim. Under the law, every American worker has a right to a workplace free of harassment. Not everyone is going to find the joke funny. Not everyone will be charmed by a romantic overture. It’s important to understand when such behavior crosses the line. In this article, we’ll discuss sexual harassment lawsuits and how they happen.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A worker can make a hostile work environment claim when the conduct of an individual makes them feel unsafe, harassed, or difficult to work with due to illegal discrimination. As the name implies, a hostile work environment occurs after (usually) repeated offenses have gone unresolved. In some cases, the conduct of an employee may be so egregious that it automatically creates a hostile work environment for another employee.
In a typical hostile work environment claim, the employee has exhausted all efforts to handle the matter internally and now wants a court to weigh in on the issue.
What is Sexual Harassment?
There are two types of sexual harassment. The most common is repeated unsuccessful attempts to romantically charm an employee. This employee feels cornered, doesn’t want the attention, has reported the issue to HR, HR has not responded in a way that remedied the situation, and the employee now wants the court to demand change for her, or him.
Sexual harassment can also occur based on one isolated incident if the incident was egregious enough. As an example, unwanted touching is an example of particularly egregious conduct.
Lastly, an implied or explicit Quid Pro Quo arrangement can be grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit. One highly-publicized lawsuit involved women who worked for a prison. The women at the prison noted that promotions tended to go to those who had sexual relationships with their bosses. This became grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit on the grounds of an implied quid pro quo.
Are Companies Only Responsible for the Conduct of Their Employees?
No! Companies are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their employees. If, for example, a female employee is being constantly hit on by a deliveryman who simply won’t take no for an answer, the company is responsible for ensuring that the employee does not have to interact with a man who makes her feel uncomfortable.
It is also worth noting that, while women tend to file the majority of sexual harassment claims, men too are the victims of sexual harassment.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Repeated unwanted sexual attention or advances
- Any type of unwanted physical contact (battery)
- Repeated obscene jokes in the workplace
- Obscene memes shared with company employees
- Frequent discussion relating to sex that makes an employee feel uncomfortable
- Inappropriate comments, slurs, jokes, etc.
- Assigning promotions based on sexual relationships
Find a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Jacksonville
The Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway, P.A. have helped employees file sexual harassment lawsuits against their employers after repeated attempts to remedy the situation in-house have failed or the conduct was so egregious that it constituted a hostile act in and of itself. Call our Jacksonville sexual harassment attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.