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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

What constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2020 | Sexual Harassment |

You would think that by 2020, people in Broward County understand what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace and will not commit it. However, this is not the case.

Unwelcome sexual comments or actions, quid-pro-quo requests for sexual favors and other acts of a sexual nature are all types of sexual harassment that violate federal law and by which a victim may be able to pursue a civil claim.

However, to pursue a claim of sexual harassment, the actions must either explicitly or implicitly have a negative effect on a person’s ability to perform their job duties, cause a person to be demoted or lose their job or create a hostile or offensive work environment. The following is a brief overview of sexual harassment and what forms it can take.

Who commits sexual harassment?

First, sexual harassment is not limited to men harassing women or women harassing men. You can be the victim of sexual harassment even if the harasser is the same sex as you. In addition, the harasser does not need to be your direct supervisor.

Agents of the employers, supervisors in other departments, co-workers or even people who are not employees of your employer can all commit sexual harassment in the workplace.

Who is the victim?

The victim of harassment does not need to be the direct recipient of the harassment. The victim could be any person who is affected by the harassment.

Sexual harassment can take place even if the victim was not fired or did not suffer financial damages. However, the harasser’s actions must be unwelcome.

Addressing claims of sexual harassment

If your are the victim of sexual harassment, you may first want to try to resolve the situation through the applicable workplace grievance system, if there is one. If not, you may be able to pursue a claim through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Depending on the circumstances, a civil claim may also be an option when all others are exhausted.

If you have questions, speak with an experienced employment law attorney.