Sexual harassment is most commonly associated with unwanted touching or sexual advances by a superior. However, there are numerous other behaviors that can be considered harassment under the law. Once you have understanding of how this is viewed in the legal world, you will be able to identify it and work towards a resolution fast.
What Can Be Considered Harassment?
According to the Washington State Human Rights Commission, the following can constitute sexual harassment under the law:
- Repeated requests for dates or sex
- Indecent exposure
- Touching, pinching or patting
These behaviors do not necessarily have to be sexual in nature; someone doing these repeatedly without your permission can be sufficient to be considered harassment. While the position of the person, whether a supervisor or non-employee, is a part in determining the level of harassment, this will not be the only factor in deciding whether it took place.
Harassment in Other Forms
Besides direct contact or sexual advances, there are other acts that fall under unwanted sexual harassment. These can either be physical or verbal in nature, including:
- Displaying pornography in plain view
- Stories or jokes about sex or private areas of the body
- Comments or questions of a sexual nature
As with more overt acts, the court will investigate the offender's motives and the circumstances in which it took place. For example, if the person commits these acts toward many coworkers, it may not be viewed as sexual harassment but instead be considered a nuisance or invasion of space.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A number of criteria must be met for an offense to be legally considered sexual harassment. While people may feel they are being targeted for unwanted sexual advances, they may not have a strong case under the eyes of the law in the beginning. A lawyer experienced with harassment cases can help determine whether it is taking place, along with what is needed in order to proceed with a legal case.
Sexual harassment can take many forms, and you may not even realize it is taking place. Once these encounters make work difficult and leave you feeling uncomfortable, it is time to carefully consider the situation and decide whether to pursue legal action. Even if you are not being touched or propositioned directly, you may be the victim of sexual harassment. Speak with a lawyer like one from Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C. today about your case, and begin the process of obtaining justice and a safe work environment.