Posted by Tamara
Utah employees ask, “If a coworker continues to ask me out on a date after I have refused, is that sexual harassment?”
The answer is definitely yes! Anytime a Utah employee receives unwanted attention in the workplace due to his or her sex, that worker is being sexually harassed. Employers often make the mistake of thinking that sexual harassment exists only when there is a promise of reward or threat of punishment. For example, Tina’s boss constantly asks her for oral sex with the implied condition that a refusal will get her fired. This scenario, known as a quid pro quo is definitely sexual discrimination, and illegal. It is not, however, the only form of sexual harassment or discrimination.
Consider Tom. His coworker, Maria, asks him out on a date. He refuses. So far, no discrimination has occurred. Maria continues to ask him out, though, despite his constant refusals. Now, Tom is being sexually harassed.
According to the federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) cases of men filing sexual discrimination complaints against women are on the rise. Cases of male employees harassing other male employees have increased, too. Any employee, male or female, who receives repeated unwanted sexual overtures is being sexually harassed.
It is the Utah employer’s responsibility to put a stop to any illegal sex discrimination or sexual harassment. This includes anyone the employee comes in contact with on the job, including colleagues, managers, vendors and customers. If a customer harasses an employee, the employer must put a stop to it.
Say Julie works for a retailer. If a customer leers at her and says, “Those jeans look really great on you,” she is being sexually harassed, and the company must stop it. Any business that allows sex discrimination and harassment is legally liable and may find itself paying millions of dollars in damages.
In addition to federal laws, many states have established antidiscrimination laws relating to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
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