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Connecticut Sexual Harassment

Posted by Tamara

Connecticut employees wonder exactly what their responsibilities are regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

Their responsibility it to stop existing behavior and prevent further incidents. It is the employer’s legal responsibility to provide a harassment-free environment. Employers should understand that workers are entitled to do their jobs without worrying about fending off unwelcome sexual overtures. Companies that do not stop illegal sexual harassment or sex discrimination in the workplace can end up paying millions of dollars in damages.

Unfortunately, many employers are not clear on exactly what constitutes sexual harassment, which is a form of illegal sex discrimination. The “usual” assumption is that sexual harassment only exists if an employee is promised a reward or threatened with punishment. Consider Tina, a secretary. Her supervisor repeatedly asks her for oral sex with the implication that if she refuses she’ll be fired. While this quid pro quo situation definitely constitutes sexual harassment, it isn’t the only scenario.

For example, Tom is asked out on a date by his coworker, Maria. He refuses. She continues to ask him out, and he continues to refuse. This behavior by Maria is sexual harassment. Tom has made his feelings clear, and her continued invitations are unwelcome.

Simply put, any unwanted attention due to an employee’s gender is considered sexual harassment. Any worker, male or female, can be harassed by coworkers, supervisors, customers and vendors of either sex. In fact, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) recently stated that complaints from male employees about sexual harassment from female employees and from other males have experienced an increase.

Recent court cases have ruled that, though harassment is usually the result of repeated advances, a single incident can constitute sexual harassment, too. For example, if an employee leers at a coworker and says, “Love the way those jeans hug your butt!”, that employee could be guilty of sexual harassment. Other cases have ruled that telling dirty jokes can be sexual harassment as well.

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