The Difference between Bad Manners & Sexual Harassment

Let’s face it. The workplace is not always filled with the most polite or considerate of coworkers. In fact, if you’ve been in the workplace for any extended period of time, chances are you have asked yourself if some of your coworker’s or employer’s actions constitute sexual harassment. If they do constitute sexual harassment, you must immediately report the incidents to your company. If you’re unsure about the true nature of another’s actions, you have a right to consult with your supervisor, Human Resource representative, or this law office without any adverse consequences.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

If someone comes up to you and says you smell good or that you’re the favorite part of their day, you may feel uncomfortable. Although this might constitute bad manners, it does not necessarily equal sexual harassment. There are two types of sexual harassment. The most severe type is when an employee is offered money or advancement in return for sexual favors, or threatened with non-advancement or termination. The most frequent type is sexual harassment causing a hostile work environment.

The harassment must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be unwelcome.
  • It must be severe.
  • It must be pervasive; a single incident will not be sufficient.

The less severe the incidents, the greater number of incidents required. The obligation is on the employee to tell the harasser to stop the conduct and report the matter to the supervisor or to Human Resources. It is no excuse that the employee may feel that if it is reported the employee will be terminated or retaliated against in some manner. It is not necessary that the incidences in fact constitute sexual harassment as long as the report is made in good faith.

Have further questions? Get answers from our skilled Los Angeles employment law attorney. Contact Alan Burton Newman, PLC today.