When you think of workplace harassment, you likely think of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is illegal, but it is also not the only type of workplace harassment that our clients have had to deal with. Some other examples of workplace harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward an employee or group of employees based on their race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, or disability
- Graphic or written materials that denigrate an employee or group of employees
- Jokes, slurs, or insults that target an employee or group of employees based on their race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, or disability
What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment in Georgia?
Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At its most basic, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, based on a person’s sex.
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. This includes requests for sexual favors, as well as unwelcome sexual advances and other verbal and physical acts. For this conduct to qualify as sexual harassment, it must be unwelcome, and it must create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating environment.
If Sexual harassment involves offensive touching or serious intentional infliction of emotional distress it can violate the Georgia laws of assault and battery or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Identifying Workplace Harassment
Much like other forms of discrimination, identifying and proving workplace harassment can be a challenge. Basically, though, you can apply a few metrics and determine if harassment is taking place:
- The person being harassed feels intimidated and is made to feel that they must comply to keep their job
- The person being harassed feels that their future employment status (including decisions concerning promotions, bonuses, demotions, etc.) depend on going along with the harassing behavior
- The harassing conduct interferes with one or more employees’ work performance
- The harassing conduct creates an objectively hostile work environment
It’s also important to remember a few things concerning sexual harassment (or any workplace harassment). These include:
- Both men and women may be victims of sexual harassment or other workplace harassment
- Both men and women may be harassers
- Harassing conduct may occur on work premises, between employees away from work, or at employer-sponsored events
- Harassment may occur between peers, between an employee and employer, or between an employee and a third party (such as a client or vendor)
Harassment and Retaliation
Importantly, if you report or otherwise act in opposition to sexual harassment in your workplace, your employer may not legally take any recourse against you. Termination or any other form of punishment in response to your actions against harassment falls under retaliation.
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment or you’ve suffered retaliation after reporting a case of sexual harassment, don’t hesitate to contact us at Ben Barrett Law today. Phone consultations are always free, and in most cases, we operate on a contingency fee basis. If you choose us, you will not pay any attorney fees unless we recover for you.