Flirting is behavior people often engage in when there is a mutual attraction. In the workplace, calling inappropriate sexual behavior “flirtatious” is no excuse for harassment. One North Carolina woman recently learned that one of the supervisors on staff had a reputation as a flirt. This description was a gross understatement as he allegedly created a hostile work environment with sexual harassment and other unwelcome behavior.
The newly hired woman reported that her coworkers warned her that a particular supervisor with whom she would regularly interact was aggressive in his pursuit of romantic and sexual relationships with female employees. It did not take long for the woman to recognize that she was the victim of the supervisor’s sexual harassment when he persisted in the following and other actions:
- Leaving suggestive gifts on her desk and in her car
- Relentlessly asking her on dates despite knowing she was in a relationship
- Touching her back and legs
- Slapping her as she walked past
- Taking pictures of her
- Talking about his intimate activities
- Showing her pornographic images and items
- Asking her to commit lewd acts with him
Even after the woman demanded that he stop, the supervisor continued with his sexual harassment. She reported the matter to the company’s human resources, but they did nothing to follow up on the woman’s complaints. She then turned to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, who agreed that she had cause for a complaint against the company. The woman eventually resigned from the job and is now seeking in excess of $100,000 in a lawsuit against the company.