Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Columbus Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Employees have the right to be protected from sexual harassment in the workplace. While many employers go to great lengths to ensure that their employees are comfortable and safe while at work, others allow harassment to go unchecked or participate in the harassment themselves.

Employers can and should be held accountable for failing to respond to acts of sexual harassment. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment while at work, you should speak to an employment attorney to discuss your options.

Prohibited Conduct

Sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which defines unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature as harassment when submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of employment, whether explicitly or implicitly. Generally, there are two types of harassment:

  • Quid pro quo harassment. This means that an employee is required to accept harassment as a condition of employment.  For example, when an employee is required to accept an employer’s sexual advances in order to avoid demotion or to keep their job.
  • Hostile environment harassment, where the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Whether conduct reaches the level of sexual harassment depends on whether it was unwelcome. The eleventh circuit described unwelcome conduct as conduct that:

  • Is not solicited or incited by an employee; and
  • Is undesirable or offensive.

Finally, to determine whether a working environment is intimidating or hostile, courts look at a series of factors, including:

  • Whether the conduct was physical or verbal
  • How frequently the harassment was repeated
  • Whether the conduct was patently offensive
  • Whether the alleged harasser was a co-worker or a supervisor
  • Whether other employees or supervisors perpetrated the harassment
  • Whether the harassment was directed at more than one person

Even when employers do not commit the harassment themselves, they can still be held accountable if they knew or should have known that the conduct was occurring and did not take immediate and appropriate action to correct the situation. Because of this, it is important that employees notify their employer when they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Employees who wish to notify their employer should look at their employer’s policies regarding how to make a complaint.

Corrective Action

When an employer is notified that sexual harassment is occurring in the workplace, they are required to take effective steps to stop the harassment. If they fail to do so, they can be liable if the harassment continues.

Call us to Speak to an Attorney about Sexual Harassment

If you live in Ohio and are facing sexual harassment at work, call us to speak to an employment attorney about your situation.

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