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Employment law: What counts as sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2020 | Employment Law |

In recent years there seems to have been a heightened awareness about sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Yet, despite a light being shined on this important topic, these egregious behaviors continue to occur in workplaces around the country, and at an alarming rate. To best protect yourself at your place of employment, you need to be able to recognize when sexual harassment occurs and how to stop it.

What constitutes sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can take many forms. Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical and verbal actions of a sexual nature can constitute sexual harassment. However, in order to be deemed harassment, the behavior in question must affect your employment, your work performance, or create a hostile or intimidating work environment. Therefore, jokes that are made in bad taste usually aren’t severe enough to be considered sexual harassment.

Anyone can engage in sexual harassment. A coworker, a supervisor, and even customers can create a challenging, hostile, and sometimes threatening work environment. Regardless of who engages in the behavior in question, your employer is responsible for keeping you safe. If they fall to do so, then it might be time for you to consider legal action.

Building your sexual harassment case

To succeed on a sexual harassment claim, you need compelling evidence that is inescapable. Therefore, you should try to document every encounter you have with your harasser, the affect it has on your job, and the steps you have taken to try to remedy the situation. You can also identify witnesses who can corroborate your story and seek out relevant documents from your employer. Once you have all the evidence at hand, then you can focus on developing strong legal arguments. A legal team that is experienced in employment law might be able to assist you if you think that you could benefit from some guidance, advice, and advocacy.