Sexual harassment is illegal under federal and Ohio law—there is no reason you should ever have to tolerate it in the workplace. Sexual harassment can take many forms, so it is important to recognize some of the key traits. Here’s what you need to know about sexual harassment in Ohio.
In some instances, sexual harassment may be verbal, including inappropriate comments or requests for sexual favors. On the other hand, sexual harassment may escalate and become physical, including nonconsensual advances, inappropriate touching, or other acts.
Harassment need not be sexually explicit to be illegal. Continuous, derogatory, gender-based acts may be considered sex-based harassment, too. For example, disparaging comments about women, even if not sexual, may qualify as harassment.
Such behavior is illegal when it occurs with such regularity or is severe such that it influences employment decisions—like promotions, demotions, and firings—or results in a hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employee’s compliance with demands for sexual acts become a requirement, whether explicit or implicit, of their employment. This may include your manager suggesting that your job depends on you performing certain sexual acts. If your employment is conditioned on performing sexual acts, you are the victim of workplace harassment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes a hostile work environment as one where the harassment is so severe or prevalent that a reasonable person would find the work environment intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Isolated events, unless especially serious, or mild irritations are unlikely to satisfy the requirements for a hostile work environment.
If you have experienced any of the above treatment, you may be experiencing workplace sexual harassment. The law protects both men and women from sexual harassment. Even more, claims are not limited to those against an immediate superior. You can be the victim of sexual harassment from your supervisor, co-worker, or other employees at your workplace.
You shouldn’t have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean dealing with it is easy. These situations are often emotionally-charged and may have potential economic consequences related to your job. We understand this and can work with you to create a strategy to address your concerns and deal with the situation in the best way for you.