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Workplace Sexual Harassment-It’s Not Always What You Think

Sexual harassment at work comes in various forms. Most of us are accustomed to the most famous form of sexual harassment – the male boss harassing a female subordinate and trading work privileges for sexual favors, however there are many other behaviors that constitute sexual harassment. The victim does not have to be the same sex as the perpetrator.

Harassment can occur with a man who harasses a woman, a woman harasses men or both parties can be from the same sex. Harassment occurs when one of the parties is receiving unwanted sexual attention and the gender of the parties is not relevant. This is mostly important that every organization seeks legal advice and practices thoroughly on the topic. An appropriate sexual harassment prevention training helps protect employers in the instance of a lawsuit.

Any party acting as an agent of the employer such as a real estate agent or consultant can be a perpetrator in a harassment claim. In addition, a harasser could be a delivery person from another company. The company who sent the delivery person could be held accountable for the harassment.

Likewise a delivery person could sue for sexual harassment from the actions of one of the companies he delivered to. The victim of harassment does not have to be the one who was actually harassed. Behaviors such as dirty jokes or lewd activities can create a hostile work environment and cause a harassment claim from a bystander..

Lastly, the harassment must be unwanted in order to be considered unlawful. If an employee welcomes and enjoys the attention and does not tell the perpetrator that they do not want the attention, then the actions are not unlawful in most cases.