SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
PHR, CPC – President
Hostile environment sexual harassment in the workplace is a situation in which the employer, supervisor, or co-worker does or says things that make the victim feel uncomfortable because of his or her sex.
Hostile environment sexual harassment in the workplace does not need to include a demand for an exchange of sex for a job benefit. It is the creation of an “uncomfortable environment”.
The conduct must be “offensive”. If two employees have a good time exchanging sexual jokes, it would not be sexual harassment in the workplace. If one employee kept telling another employee sexual jokes that the second employee found offensive, it “would” be sexual harassment in the workplace. If two employees dated and engaged in consensual sex, this would not be sexual harassment in the workplace. If one of the two then wanted to terminate the relationship, and the other used the unequal relative terms and conditions of employment of the work place to further the relationship, this would be sexual harassment in the workplace.
Jokes, pictures, touching, leering, unwanted requests for a date have all been found by courts to be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace can be between people of the same sex. Sexual harassment in the workplace can be a women harassing a man.
Report The Behavior
If a fellow worker is the one doing the discrimination and harassment, you should follow the company policy and report the conduct to your supervisor and Human Resources. Report it in writing to have proof of the date you reported it, and be sure to be specific about the exact nature of the discrimination or harassment. Saying things like Joe is bothering me or harassing me is not sufficient. Also, saying that Joe called me the “N” word once is insufficient. Don’t retaliate back, or you can be fired.