Practice Areas

Employee Rights

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of gender/sex discrimination. It may include conduct such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical harassment that is sexual in nature or because of your gender.

Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment, and the conduct does not have to be motivated by sexual desires in order to qualify. Employees may even suffer sexual harassment from members of their own sex.

Sexual harassment is illegal if the conduct is unwelcome, severe or pervasive. Illegal harassment may occur when satisfaction of a sexual demand is used as the basis for an employment decision or it may occur when the harassment is so severe and frequent that it creates a hostile work environment.

Employees who believe they are suffering from sexual harassment should first tell the harasser to stop, and then report the harassment to their employer.

Steven Andrew Smith

Employment Law Attorney
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Employment manuals or handbooks typically provide employees

with companies’ policies and procedures for addressing sexual harassment. Employees who simply tolerate offensive acts in the workplace without reporting the incidents may find they do not have an actionable sexual harassment claim.

Examples of Possible Sexual Harassment:

  • Your boss or co-workers make negative or threatening comments about your gender, direct gender-based jokes at you, or make other negative gender-based remarks.
  • Your boss or co-workers comment about your clothing or your body, direct sexual jokes towards you, tell false stories about your sex life, or make other sexually suggestive remarks.
  • Your boss or co-workers touch you in inappropriate ways, including hugging, kissing, patting, or deliberately brushing up against you.
  • Your boss or co-workers have posters, magazines, pictures, or screensavers that are sexual in nature or derogatory or hostile toward your gender, or they circulate emails that are sexually suggestive or derogatory toward your gender.
  • Your boss threatens to fire or demote you, deny you of a promotion, or take other action against you if you do not submit to a sexual demand, such as go on an unwanted date or have unwanted sex with him or her.
  • You have informed your employer about behavior similar to the examples described above, and your employer has not taken steps to investigate and prevent further sexual harassment from occurring.

Trends in Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, recent studies indicate that sexual harassment is on the rise in the workplace. EEOC statistics indicate that sexual harassment charges increased by more than 15% between 2006 and 2008. The number of males bringing charges of sexual harassment increased to approximately 16% in 2007 and 2008. Employees should not be subject to sexual harassment. Nichols Kaster continues to be on the forefront of the effort to remedy past discrimination and prevent further inequities in the treatment of employees of both sexes. For more information about these issues, see the following websites: