Sexual Harassment Offensive Conduct
Even though it’s the type of harassment that is most often reported, harassment in the workplace and in hiring isn’t limited to sexual harassment. Other actions regarding religion, race, age, gender, or skin color, for example, can also be considered harassment if they interfere with an employee’s success or conjure a hostile work environment. There are differences between sexual and non-sexual offensive conduct. It doesn’t matter who makes the offense. It could be a manager, co-worker, or even a non-employee like a client, contractor, or vendor. If the person’s conduct creates a hostile work environment or interrupts an employee’s success, it is unlawful sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment isn’t limited to making inappropriate advances. In fact, sexual harassment includes any unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that creates a hostile work environment.
Some examples are:
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos, such as pornography or salacious gifs, with co-workers
- Sending suggestive letters, notes, or e-mails
- Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace
- Telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures
- Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, or whistling
- Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts
- Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person
- Asking sexual questions, such as inquiries about someone’s sexual history or their sexual orientation
- Making offensive comments about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity
These are just a few examples of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any actions or words with a sexual connotation that interfere with an employee’s ability to work or create an uncomfortable atmosphere. Also, victims are anyone affected by the inappropriate behavior. This includes onlookers.
Non-sexual harassment includes any comment, action, or type of behavior that is threatening, insulting, intimidating, or discriminatory and upsets the workplace environment. Racist or negative comments can be workplace harassment. Also, offensive gestures, drawings, or clothing can be harassment as well.
Other examples of non-sexual offensive conduct are:
- Making negative comments about an employee’s personal religious beliefs, or trying to convert them to a certain religious ideology
- Using racist slang, phrases, or nicknames
- Making remarks about an individual’s skin color or other ethnic traits
- Displaying racist drawings, or posters that might be offensive to a particular group
- Making offensive gestures
- Making offensive reference to an individual’s mental or physical disability
- Sharing inappropriate images, videos, emails, letters, or notes
- Offensively talking about negative racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes
- Making derogatory age-related comments
- Wearing clothing that could be offensive to a particular ethnic group
These are just a few examples of non-sexual harassment.
Complex Litigation Attorney
If you have experienced sexual harassment in any form in the workplace, you should contact a qualified employment attorney as soon as possible. If the harassment has not stopped after making a formal complaint with your employer, consulting a harassment lawyer is your best option. Your attorney will be able to provide further guidance, help you file a claim with the EEOC, and help you build a case that will put an end to what you have experienced.