The term “harassment” means something more than mere general annoyance or pestering of a person. In general, unlawful harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome, ongoing offensive comments or conduct that is a condition of continued employment and/or so severe and pervasive that it adversely impacts the employee’s ability to meet the employer’s legitimate expectations. Moreover, the offensive comments or conduct must be premised in a protected consideration, such as the person’s age, race, sex, disability, national origin, or religion.
Unlawful sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur between members of the same sex or the opposite sex. Likewise, sexual harassment can occur when a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person is subjected to offensive comments or conduct based on a perceived failure to conform to gender stereotypes.
In general, an employer may be held responsible for harassment by supervisory employees. An employer may also be held responsible for harassment in the workplace by non-supervisory employees, contractors, customers, or vendors, if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt, effective, remedial action.
As with most civil matters, certain strict deadlines apply to the filing of an administrative charge of discrimination or lawsuit based on unlawful harassment. Agencies and courts will dismiss claims that are not filed in a timely manner.
We invite you to contact us if you believe that you have been subjected to unlawful harassment.