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What is considered Sexual Harassment in the workplace?

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The Kaufman Law FirmJuly 6, 2018Sexual Harassment

Many people go through it. It can be scary. People fear losing their job the most and possible ridicule. Sexual harassment in the workplace is far too prevalent. The EEOC definition is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” Many may not even realize that sexual harassment has been committed. Anyone can be a victim. The harassment does not have to be sexual in nature, it could be offensive comments targeted toward a person’s gender. For example, if a someone make a joke about women being bad drivers then that would be considered sexual harassment. One of the main types of sexual harassment is making the victim feel they are in a hostile work environment.

Hostile Work Environment

Hostile work environment is one of the most prevalent forms of sexual harassment. Any employee within the workplace can make someone feel like their in a hostile work environment. It is recognized when the harasser brings unwelcome conduct, making the person who is getting harassed feel uncomfortable which could be seen as intimidating, hostile, or offensive. It doesn’t have to necessarily a threat to the victims employment. It also doesn’t have to be targeted to a specific individual. For example, if someone in the workplace posts something on the office bulletin board that others find offensive, it is considered as making a hostile work environment. As mentioned previously, hostile work environment comes from unwelcome conduct but as well as harassment based on sex, severe or pervasive harassment, and harassment that is offensive to a reasonable person.

Unwelcome conduct

If one employee performs conduct to another employee that they find unwelcome then it is considered unwelcome conduct under the frame of hostile work environment. Even if the victim goes along with the conduct then it is still considered as a grounds for sexual harassment. It’s important to remember that the victim must challenge the unwelcome conduct to prove it was sexual harassment.

Based Upon Sex

This includes any harassment that is based off of gender. This is the stereotypical and common occurrence, when an employee tries to make sexual advance toward another coworker. It is essential to know that, however, this conduct does not have to be direct or blatantly sexual in nature. If a male employee purposely hides the stapler from a female employee then that is considered sexual harassment based upon sex creating a hostile work environment.

Severe or Pervasive

This is behavior that is deemed severe or pervasive to the point where is creates an abusive work environment. It is often sexual harassment that has been repeatedly happening in the workplace. It also includes more flagrant actions such as physical assault.

Offensive to a Reasonable Person

When sexual harassment is unwelcome and offensive it is called the “subject standard”. It also must be objectively offensive meaning it would reasonable offend some in the victims shoes. This type of sexual harassment is taken in context. For example if a coworker talks about the victims sexual orientation, information they may want to keep private, then it is considered sexual harassment.

Too many employees fall victim to sexual harassment in the workplace and many often suffer in silence. Matthew A. Kaufman who is Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney has been dealing with cases like yours since 1993. Contact the Los Angeles Employment Attorney at the Kaufman Law Firm for a free initial consultation using this contact form. Or you can give us a call at our local number 818-990-1999.

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