Sexual harassment in the workplace is a hot-button issues and one that does not seem to be going away. Despite the attention sexual harassment has received from celebrities and the media in recent years, both men and women continue to endure this unfair and illegal mistreatment on the job. The person committing the harassment is not the only one who may be held culpable for the violations. An employer who condones or permits a hostile work environment may hold some responsibility for the actions of his or her employees, customers or contractors.
An employer who receives a complaint of sexual harassment has a duty to launch a fair and thorough investigation and deal with any valid complaints swiftly. Some of the most common examples of sexual harassment include the following:
- Repeated or suggestive comments about a worker’s appearance
- Continued attempts to date someone who has expressed no interest
- Intimate or sexual conversations in front of co-workers
- Derogatory or suggestive comments about an employee’s clothing
- Exclusion from important meetings or assignments because of one’s gender
- Ridicule or sabotage of projects by employees of the opposite sex
These actions can demoralize and emotionally scar the victim. Even subtle or inconspicuous harassment can quickly wear down an employee who is subjected to it on a regular basis. Of course, a boss or co-worker who touches or assaults someone at work crosses the line. Victims of sexual harassment may feel confused and ashamed, but they have every right to seek counseling and legal advice about their options for reclaiming their dignity on the job.