What Is Considered Sexual Harassment At Work?


I would like to know what is considered sexual harassment in the workplace.




Dear Wondering:

This is what the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) provides as an applied definition (not the legal terms) of Sexual Harassment:

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.” **************** You can find other information about sexual harassment on a variety of sites. It’s important to be clear in one’s own mind before making an allegation of that nature, because some people use the accsuation as a weapon to hurt others with whom they’re angry rather than a tool to improve the workplace when change is needed.

If you have questions about specific issues at your work you might also want to talk to HR or to an Employee Assistance counselor or similar resources.

Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.