Sexual Harassment Outside the Workplace

Knowing Your Rights Away from the Water Cooler

In today’s world, characterized by increasingly convenient remote forms of communication, sexual harassment is no longer confined to the office or workplace. In fact, with text messaging and multiple platforms of personal social media, there are many more opportunities for someone to sexually harass a coworker outside the office than there are at the office. When this occurs, action can still be taken against the offender.

The Three Common Forms of Sexual Harassment

Generally speaking, sexual harassment needs to occur between two people who have a professional relationship. This could include an outside contractor, a loan officer, a doctor or dentist, trust officers, attorneys, and of course, between an employer and employee. It needs to be connected to a professional relationship.

Sexual harassment usually comes about in the following ways:

  • Sexual advances
  • Sexual solicitations
  • Sexual requests
  • Coercion by threatening retaliation

Whether this is done at the office verbally or outside the office with unwanted text messages or phone calls doesn’t matter. As long as the relationship is connected professionally, and as long as the victim has made it clear that the advances are not wanted before they continue.

Inability to Leave & Tangible Hardship

Most often associated with instances of sexual harassment where sexual participation is leveraged against a threat of being fired or of botching the service the harasser is hired to provide, this refers to a type of illegal sexual harassment wherein the victim cannot leave the situation without tangible hardship. Tangible hardship could easily include being fired, having to hire a new attorney mid-case, or having to look for a new therapist.

If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment outside the office, the laws still apply, and we urge you to contact our Harvard Law-educated Los Angeles employment law attorney Alan Burton Newman.