Five Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Harassment
1. Does sexual harassment have to involve sex?
No. Sexual harassment does not have to involve any physical contact at all. Words alone may be enough. Examples include, but are not limited to: sexual advances, repeated requests for dates, lewd remarks, pornographic pictures, or sexual jokes.
2. What if the harassment is not sexual in nature, but is still directed at me because I am a woman?
Non-sexual conduct is still unlawful if it is severe and pervasive and singles you out because of your gender. For example, if your supervisor says he doesn’t think a woman should have your job and deliberately insults or ridicules you or gives you impossible tasks because you are a woman.
3. Is it possible to be sexually harassed by someone who is the same sex as I am?
Yes. Males can sexually harass males, and females can sexually harass females. The key question the law asks is whether the conduct itself would have occurred if the victim had been of a different sex.
4. If I am being harassed because I am a lesbian or because I am transgender, is that illegal?
Yes. The LGTB community is protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces Title VII.
5. Is it possible to be harassed by someone who is not my supervisor?
Yes. The harasser does not have to be your supervisor for the harassment to be illegal. Employers have a responsibility to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment, regardless of whether the harasser is your supervisor, a supervisor in a different department, a co-worker, a subordinate, or even a customer or client.
Don’t put up with sexual harassment. Call Attorneys Tina Huntington, Monique Centeno and Larry Wall at (316) 265-6000.