What Is Considered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

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It is important for employers and employees to know what the definition of sexual harassment is and what type of behavior is inappropriate and won’t be tolerated in the workplace. By having a clear definition, you can eliminate the perception that sexual harassment policies threaten “innocent” behavior that can be misinterpreted as harassment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” Under the West Virginia Human Rights Act, it is illegal to harass or discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, or disability. It is also important to note that harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature and can also include offensive remarks about a person’s sex or gender.

Common examples of inappropriate behavior that can be considered sexual harassment at work include:

  • Sexually explicit physical contact
  • Asking a person for sex
  • Sexually suggestive gestures
  • Asking intrusive questions about a person’s private life
  • Asking intrusive questions about a person’s body
  • Staring or leering
  • Unwelcome touching
  • Sexually explicit physical contact
  • Sending emails or SMS text messages that contain sexually explicit material
  • Insults or taunts based on a person’s sex
  • Talking about your sex life in front of other employees
  • Commenting on the attractiveness of an employee in front of other co-workers
  • Circulating nude or pornographic photos in the workplace
  • Leaving a person unwanted gifts that are sexual or romantic in nature.
  • Spreading sexual rumors about an employee

If you have experienced any of the conduct listed above at your workplace, you should consult with an employment law lawyer to file a sexual harassment lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve.

At Rod Smith Law PLLC, we are committed to helping clients who have been sexually harassed at work secure justice, and we are prepared to put our extensive resources to work for you today. Call (304) 406-7076 to request a free consultation with our legal team to get started on your case.