Sexual Harassment Isn’t Always Targeted

This month, our blog has been looking at all the ways that sexual harassment doesn't appear how we expect it to. Today, we're looking at "broad" sexual harassment—employment discrimination that isn't targeted but affects your whole office or floor.

Some examples of non-targeted sexual harassment includes:

  • Sharing sexually inappropriate images or gifs with co-workers
  • Sending suggestive letters, notes, or e-mails
  • Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters
  • Telling lewd jokes or sharing sexual anecdotes
  • Making inappropriate sexual gestures
  • Playing porn on an office computer

In a business culture that preaches the power of the "open office," how someone works or behaves will affect more people than it used to. Putting up pornography or sexually inappropriate artwork has never been acceptable in the office, but it's more obvious now than in previous decades.

But How Is a Poster a Form of "Sexual Harassment"?

Workplace sexual harassment doesn't have to be verbal or physical—it just has to be any condition that a.) results in a hostile work environment (or renders you less capable of doing your job), and b.) is sex-targeted or sexual in nature.

If there is a poster of a naked woman on a co-worker's desk, it's easy to see how a female co-worker might find it difficult to work there (or difficult to believe that the co-worker in question takes her seriously as a colleague). That's the discrimination aspect of sexual harassment.

If the behavior interferes with your ability to work and creates a hostile environment, it's harassment. It doesn't matter if it's targeted, broad, done by one person or a group, done by a superior or non-superior.

Make a free call to (310) 986-2792 if your co-workers or supervisors have behaved in a way that created a hostile environment for you. Not all sexual harassment is targeted—let our Harvard-educated employment lawyer in Los Angeles tell you if you have a case. Contact us today!