What is Workplace Sexual Harassment?June 5, 2019
Employees should always feel comfortable and safe where they work. Unwelcome advances in the workplace can create a hostile work environment for employees. Sexual harassment can take many forms and leave victims feeling vulnerable and violated. The actions can be severe or pervasive, yet many victims will not know what steps to take or how to respond to the unwelcome behaviors.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct in the workplace. This can include conduct of a sexual nature or conduct based on someone’s sex or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can be so severe that it creates a hostile work environment for the employee.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome and unwanted behavior. It is helpful if the victim informs the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome. The victim of sexual harassment should also inform the harasser that the conduct needs to stop.
Sexual harassment includes conduct of a sexual nature. However, sexual harassment is not limited to sexual behaviors. Sexual harassment can also include inappropriate conduct based on an individual’s sexual identification or sexual orientation. For example, this can include discrimination against an employee because of the employee’s sex.
Many different types of actions of a sexual nature may be sexual harassment. This may include verbal, physical, nonverbal, or visual conduct. For instance, inappropriate touching and sexual jokes may both constitute sexual harassment, although they take different forms.
Severe or Pervasive Conduct
The unwelcome conduct must either be severe or pervasive. Conduct is severe if it includes a very serious incident. For example, severe conduct may refer to rape or attempted rape.
However, the conduct may also be pervasive. Pervasive conduct occurs when the harassment is less severe, but happens frequently or continues over time. Multiple minor incidents can accumulate to a sexual harassment claim if the incidents affect the victim’s work environment. For instance, this may include frequent and persistent sexual comments to an employee over time.
Conduct that Affects Work Environment
Sexual harassment can create a hostile work environment for the victim. Inappropriate and unwanted conduct at the workplace can make the victim feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Every person should feel comfortable where they work. But, this type of harassment can create a hostile work environment for the victim, affecting the victim’s work performance.
Sexual harassment can also affect the victim’s working conditions. For example, the victim rejecting sexual advances may be fired, demoted, or refused a promotion. The sexual advances can not only leave the employee feeling victimized and unsafe, but can also lead to the victim losing money or job opportunities.
Sexual Harassment is Against the Law
Sexual harassment is illegal. The laws against sexual harassment are intended to protect employees from harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against another on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), your employer has the responsibility to prevent and properly address sexual harassment complaints. Every person should feel safe and comfortable in the workplace.
As mentioned, sexual harassment can take many forms. You should never have to put up with inappropriate behaviors where you work. Please remember that you are not alone.
Middletown Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. Represent Victims of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
You should always feel comfortable and safe where you work. If you have experienced sexual harassment, the Middletown sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. can help you. Please call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, OR contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent all clients in Middletown, Cherry Hill, and throughout New Jersey.