Sexual harassment has a strange way of sneaking up on its victims. It starts as a simple touch or what seems like an innocent compliment. Then, gradually, it escalates into insulting and sexually-charged comments, requests for sexual favors and even demands for sexual acts with threats of retaliation. No matter how severe the sexual harassment is, you don’t have to put up with it.
Here are a few signs to watch out for:
The behavior is offensive: A general requirement for something to be considered sexual harassment is that the victim was offended by it. If you thought it was funny or humorous — and you weren’t offended — then you may not be a victim. Therefore, when consulting an alleged victim of sexual harassment, it’s important to ask: Were you offended by it and was it unwelcome?
The action or statements would also be offensive to a reasonable individual: To constitute sexual harassment the behavior also needs to be offensive to any reasonable person to whom it may have happened. This is an important litmus test since individual opinions can vary and the court could deem some individuals to be “unreasonably” sensitive.
The statements or behaviors were serious or repetitive: A court will evaluate a sexual harassment claim based on serious. For example, a statement like “Do this sexual act or you will not get the job,” would be serious. Only saying it once likely constitutes sexual harassment. For lesser offenses, they need to happen on a repeated and regular basis.
No one should have to put up with on-the-job sexual harassment. If you’ve been victimized by this unconscionable behavior, contact our law office immediately for a free evaluation.