While there is a clear understanding that sexual harassment is unlawful and should never be tolerated, identifying conduct that rises to the level of harassment is not nearly as easy. For every clear-cut example of an employee who is fired for refusing his or her supervisor’s sexual advances, there are many other situations that may fall into a “gray area.”
Maybe your co-worker constantly tells sexually charged jokes that make you uncomfortable. Or your boss regularly comments on your appearance. When do these jokes and compliments cross the line?
How do you know if you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment? Let’s take a closer look.
The Legal Standard For Sexual Harassment
Hostile environment sexual harassment is conduct that unduly interferes with an employee’s work or creates a work environment that is intimidating, abusive or offensive.
For a claim of hostile environment sexual harassment to succeed, a court must find that the harassing conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive. Courts will consider things such as:
- How frequently the conduct was repeated
- Whether others joined in
- Whether it was directed at more than one person
- How it affected the victim’s job performance
- How it affected the victim’s psychological well-being
A single incident of harassing conduct may create a hostile environment if it is severe enough, such as a sexual assault. A skilled lawyer can stand up for your rights.
Examples Of Improper Workplace Harassment
The kinds of behavior that could create a hostile work environment include many forms of verbal, visual and physical conduct. Verbal conduct includes things like off-color jokes, discussing sexual activities, use of profanity and demeaning terms, or making suggestive noises. Visual conduct includes displaying suggestive images in the workplace, obscene gestures or leering. Physical conduct may include things like unwelcome touching, interference with movement or standing too close.
Sexually Harassed In The Workplace? Let Me Help.
To speak directly with me about your situation, contact the Law Offices of Kell A. Simon for a free, confidential case review, or call 512-898-9019. I serve clients in the Austin and Houston areas, and throughout Texas.