Sexual harassment isn’t always physical

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | employment law |

North Carolina workers have the right to feel safe in the workplace. This includes being free from concerns about sexual harassment. Some individuals may be under the impression that sexual harassment only involves physical touching, but this isn’t true. Non-physical sexual harassment can be just as harmful as physical harassment and it’s also just as unlawful.  

Non-physical harassment 

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal to harass someone based on their sex, but this doesn’t just include physical touching. Making unwanted sexual advances toward someone in the workplace also qualifies as harassment. Neither fellow employees, supervisors or managers are allowed to make comments requesting sexual favors or otherwise speak about sexual acts.  

Verbal sexual harassment can also include someone making derogatory comments about an individual’s sex. This includes comments made by someone of the same sex. While teasing and joking is not usually considered harassment, if it gets frequent or severe to the point where those involved are uncomfortable, it may be considered harassment. Verbal sexual harassment can create a hostile work environment and affect everyone in the workplace.  

Where to turn for help 

Employers are responsible for dealing with harassment accusations promptly. When these matters are not dealt with, the work environment can become toxic for not only the person being harassed but other employees as well. Those who’ve complained of sexual harassment should feel confident that their employee has their back and will take care of the issue. Anyone who believes a North Carolina employer has not properly dealt with sexual harassment claims has the right to file a lawsuit against those responsible.