News > What is considered as sexual harassment at work
What is considered as sexual harassment at work
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem that can happen to both women and men. But in most cases, women are the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
It can range from persistent and offensive sexual jokes to inappropriate touching to posting offending material on bulletin boards.
Under federal law, it is unlawful in the United States to harass a person, applicant, or employee at the workplace. Your employer is legally obliged to provide you with a safe work environment that is not hostile to you on the grounds of your gender or gender identity.
The term workplace sexual harassment constitutes two main things- workplace and harassment. So before diving deep into your rights, let's find out what is considered workplace sexual harassment.
What is a workplace?
● A workplace is any place where an employee pays a visit during his or her course of employment
● It includes both organized and unorganized sectors.
● Along with the place, it also includes any transportation facility provided by the employer for employment purposes
● Government organizations
● Private sector organizations
● Service providers like Hospitals, Sports Institutes
● Educational institutes
What is sexual harassment at the workplace ?
Despite being a serious issue of society and to life, there is no one accepted definition of sexual harassment adopted universally. Although it is defined differently by different organizations.
The Employment Commission for Equal Opportunities (EEOC) defines sexual harassment in the workplace as "unwanted sexual advances or behaviors of sexual nature that impair the exercise of a job or create an intimidating, hostile or abusive work environment.
The Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) defines sexual assault as any non-consensual sexual act prohibited by federal, tribal, or federal law, even if the victim is not capable of consent
If a person's behavior creates or makes it difficult for an employee to work or disrupts the success of an employee, it is considered unlawful harassment. Other actions such as those concerning race, religion, age, gender, or color, can also be considered harassment if they negatively impact the success of employees or create a hostile work environment.
In fact, the victim of sexual harassment is not just the person who is harassed; it is the employee affected by offensive behavior. Victims and harassers can be women and men, and they can be of the same sex.
Harassment that is not of a sexual nature can include insulting remarks about a person's gender. Unsolicited sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other verbal and/or physical behavior that is inherently sexual and negatively impacts the employment of the individual can lead to sexual harassment if it impairs the work performance of the individual or creates a hostile or abusive work environment.
What can be considered sexual harassment at work ?
There are various acts & behavior which are considered as sexual harassment rather than just physical touch to women. These behaviors include following with suitable examples of harassment in the workplace
● Verbal Sexual harassment: Sexual comments on appearance and lifestyle, offensive phone calls, repeatedly asking someone
● Physical harassment: physically touching & violence, getting close without permission
● Nonverbal harassment: Nonverbal gestures & behaviors like whistling, giving gifts, staring, following someone, blocking someone
Some more examples of harassment in the workplace :
● unwanted kissing or touching breasts, genitals
● slapping in the face
● rape or other forms of sexual assault
● requests sexual favors
● sexually explicit comments
● unsolicited messages
● suggestive gestures
● Ogling or Ogling in corners or restricted spaces.
Types of Sexual Harassment
● Quid pro Quo: It involves some form of benefits provided(gifts, promotion, high salary) in exchange for some sexual favors. There could also involve some threat for termination by the power of authority.
● Hostile work environment: Condition which will make an employee uncomfortable or unbearable to work in
In a hostile work environment, harassment can be directed at more than one person or individual victim. Quid pro quo harassment is easier, but in hostile work environments, claims can be harder to spot.
What is not considered sexual harassment at work ?
● Singular and Trivial Behavior
One joke or a remark made by a co-worker is not considered sexual harassment as long as it’s appropriate.
Example - You should dress more professionally at the workplace. It’s a remark made but is not even close to sexual harassment.
● Consensual Behavior
It is a behavior in which both the parties are mutually involved or agreed upon.A single request made by an employee to ask for a date is not considered sexual harassment.
Although if after you made it clear or say a direct no, then the same repeated request does consider sexual harassment at the workplace
Outcomes of sexual harassment at work
Under federal law, it is unlawful in the United States to harass a person, applicant, or employee solely on the basis of their gender. Anyone can be a victim or a harasser irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Sexual harassment constitutes a form of illegal discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which is enforced by the EEOC, and if anyone wishes to make a legal claim to sexual harassment and bring charges under that act, they must cooperate with a state agency. The case law has established that harassment at the workplace must be severe and pervasive and affect the working conditions in the US to meet the legal standard for action (EEOC, 2018b).
There are more than 230,000 product liability lawsuits in federal court filed against claims that the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEV2) are defective, leaving US service members struggling with Tinnitus, hearing loss, and other problems related to the ear.
Solutions to harassment in the workplace:
Prevention is the only best way to eliminate it and there are various ways to prevent it before occurring at the workplace like:
● Making strict policy at workplace regarding sexual harassment
● Providing training on sexual harassment
● Setup effective complaint process in the workplace
Seek an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney in the USA:
Sexual harassment is unsavory sexual advancement, sexual favors of sale, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects the employment of an individual.
If you feel like you have been sexually harassed at the workplace, the first step is to discuss it with someone professional. At Lawyer4Help, we provide you with the best attorney & they will determine whether you have a valid claim for the same and all the processes needed
Feel free to call us at +1 (307) 828 1476 and be open to discuss what happened and what is needed to be done further. We will be more than happy to help