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Behavior that Rises to Sexual Harassment

Updated: May 7

Do you have a co-worker that often tells you inappropriate jokes that leave you feeling uncomfortable? Does your boss get in your personal space and lingers close a bit too long? Do you find that office horseplay ends up with spanking or touching that just rubs you the wrong way? All these behaviors are sexual harassment in the workplace. It is essential that you are aware of what constitutes harassment so you can navigate it correctly and take action when needed.

What Exactly Is Sexual Harassment?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

If you feel your agreement or disagreement to engage is impacting your employment or creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive work environment, it is sexual harassment.

Some examples of sexual harassment:

  • Displaying sexually explicit material in the office.

  • Telling sexual jokes.

  • Unwanted sexual teasing.

  • Pressuring another employee for dates or sexual favors.

  • Unwanted or unwelcome touching.

When to Talk to an Attorney

If you have asked the offending party to stop and they continue, or you feel like you cannot tell them to stop due to the impact it may have on your job, then you need to talk to an attorney. Sexual harassment that is severe or frequent needs to be addressed. An employment attorney can advocate on our behalf and assist you in what next steps you need to take.

Should I Talk to Human Resources?

Suppose you do decide to talk to human resources before speaking with an attorney (which you shouldn’t), keep in mind that HR’s top concern is protecting the business, not you. They will side with the company and will do everything in their power to downplay sexual harassment. In order to ensure that you are in the best possible position to protect yourself, an attorney is your best bet.

Have you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace? Contact Gomerman | Bourn & Associates. Call 415-545-8608 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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