Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment does not prevent simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents. However, it is illegal when the harassment is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or results in an adverse employment action.
An employer is responsible for harassment by a supervisor that culminated in a tangible employment action. If there was not a tangible employment action, the employer can still be liable. The employer is liable unless it proves that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassment and the employee unreasonably failed to complain to management or to avoid harm otherwise. The employer is also responsible for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control, independent contractors or customers on the premises if it knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt or corrective action.
For sexual harassment cases, it is helpful to keep track of the nature of the harassment, when the harassment occurred, who was involved, the location of the harassment, and if there were any witnesses. The employee should also tell the harasser their actions are unwelcome and making him or her uncomfortable. If the harassment continues the employee should inform the manager and consult the employee handbook about formal complaints. The employee must follow any sexual harassment policies the employer put in place. If that means reporting the event to a manager then the employee must take that step before pursuing action with the EEOC. Further, an employer cannot retaliate or take negative action against an employee for reporting sexual harassment.
If you think you were sexually harassed or faced retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, we can help. At McOmber McOmber & Luber, we take a proactive approach to each and every legal issue our clients face. 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.