Lets first address who the sexual offender can be so that you know if you might have a sexual harassment case. It can be your supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a co-worker or even someone who is not an employee like a client or vendor or customer. Sexual harassment covers you against all of these. That includes almost everyone around you.
We all know that sexual harassment is unlawful, but what exactly is sexual harassment? You know that it’s unlawful for someone to sexually harass another, also to make unwelcome sexual advances, make requests for sexual favors, or make verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
At the end of the day, harassment doesn’t have to be of a “sexual” nature, and can include offensive remarks about someone’s sex. As an example, it’s unlawful to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
Oh, and for those who ask whether sexual harassment is a man on woman violation, it’s not. Both the victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.
What isn’t sexual harassment? The law doesn’t make simple teasing illegal. Offhand comments or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious may not find its way into the EEOC or into court. Normally, sexual harassment has to be frequent and severe so that it creates a hostile of offensive work environment. In many cases, sexual harassment also happens when it results in an adverse employment decision like in those cases where the harassed is let go or demoted.
Read more specifics about unwelcome advances by coworkers, bosses and even client on our blog