Sexual harassment in the workplace is, unfortunately, an evergreen problem. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if the behavior you have experienced actually rises to the level of harassment. While sexual harassment does not have a specific definition, per se, it does have to have certain characteristics be present or it is not actionable. If you have questions, contact our knowledgeable employment discrimination attorney at Hitchcock & Potts, LLC today.
Sexual Harassment Is Sex Discrimination
One thing to keep in mind is that sexual harassment is, in essence, the same as harassment on the basis of sex or gender, even though many people differentiate between the two. For the overwhelming majority of people, harassing someone in a sexual manner is done because the person being harassed is of the harasser’s preferred sex or gender, and they would not conduct themselves in such a fashion if the alleged victim were of a different gender.
That said, the person harassing you does not have to be a supervisor or in a position of power; they can be of any gender, and hold any position. In rare instances, the harasser can even be someone like a client or customer; such harassment would still possibly create a cause of action against your employer, if they did nothing to stop it. No matter who the harasser is, you have the right to speak up against their conduct, and potentially recover damages if their conduct rises to a certain level.
Types Of Behavior
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) specifies that mere jokes or teasing is not sufficient to support a harassment claim; rather, there must be a concerted pattern of behavior that is frequent and severe, creating an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” For example, if an employee is transgender and is constantly subjected to frequent misgendering and inappropriate comments by coworkers who refuse to update their pronoun usage, it may impact the employee’s job performance.
While the average person may think that sexual harassment requires some kind of sexual advance, this is not necessarily the case; while it is one of the methods by which harassment on the basis of sex/gender can be established, it is not the only one. Other actions that you can use to demonstrate a pattern of harassment include offensive comments, sexually explicit images being shared in the workplace, or comments or actions demonstrating hatred or contempt for one gender as a whole.
Get Legal Help Today
Being the victim of sexual harassment can feel dehumanizing. If you believe that you have been harassed due to your sex, or you have been the victim of unwelcome sexual behavior, you have the right to speak up for yourself. A South Carolina employment discrimination attorney can help answer your questions about the potential process. Attorney A. Christopher Potts and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts have handled these cases for several years, and can try to assist you with yours. Call the offices today to schedule a consultation.