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.
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:
Whether conduct reaches the level of sexual harassment depends on whether it was unwelcome. The eleventh circuit described unwelcome conduct as conduct that:
Finally, to determine whether a working environment is intimidating or hostile, courts look at a series of factors, including:
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.
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.
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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