Posted by Tamara
Employers throughout the 50 states, including Oregon, must by law guarantee their employees a work environment that is safe from sexual harassment.
They must be safe from sexual harassment by anyone, whether it is a supervisor, a coworker, a vendor on the scene, or even a customer.
An employer who knows of sexual harassment against an employee and fails to do anything to stop it could face millions of dollars in damages. The federal EEOC will bring a lawsuit on behalf of an employee who complains of sexual harassment, and the employer could very possibly be found liable.
Laws against sexual harassment start from the common-sense assumption that employees should be left alone to complete their work duties. They cannot do so if they must fend off the sexual attentions of a coworker or a supervisor.
Not only does federal law regulate sexual harassment, but many states have their own laws as well that apply not only to harassment but to the creation of a hostile work environment.
Those employers who understand the sexual harassment laws are far less likely to face hefty damages.
It is important for employers to realize that sexual harassment is not just about a male supervisor coercing sexual favors from a female employee with the threat of job-loss, or with the promise of job favors. That form of harassment is common enough to have a name. It is called “quid pro quo.”
However, “quid pro quo” may also involve a female supervisor and a male employee. It may also be an incident involving a male supervisor and male worker, or a female supervisor and a female employee. In fact, complaints by male employees of sexual harassment are on the increase, whether from females or males.
As noted earlier, sexual harassment may involve two coworkers or a worker and a vendor or customer.
It may also involve far more than “quid pro quo.” For example, it is sexual harassment if an employee leers at another employee and says, “You really look good in that tight shirt.” Dirty jokes may be construed as sexual harassment as well.
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