The Difficulty of Defining Sexual Harassment in St. Louis

May, 2013 by

In the United States federal law prohibits sexual harassment of any form. It is very broadly defined as any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct that creates a hostile environment in the workplace. If the person feels that the workplace is hostile, then it is considered hostile. The law does not set forth standards that define that critical adjective. This broad definition leads to many confusing situations, where an employer or employee is forced to hire a lawyer to help define a Sexual Harassment St. Louis situation.

Most people would consider that a boss making a statement that a woman has to sleep with him to get a promotion to be sexual harassment. No one would argue that this is a clear case of a hostile work environment. However, in a second situation a male cashier makes demeaning comments about the appearance of female customers. The cashier didn’t mention anyone who worked at the company and has no power over any of the women in the room. Yet, this makes the women workers in the room uncomfortable and they claim that he is guilty of sexual harassment at the company.

A sexual harasser can be the victim’s boss, manager, co-worker or even subordinate. To make things more complicated for the company, they can be held liable for the actions of a vendor or customer on their premises. If the company hires a landscaping company, and the guy watering the lawn whistles at a woman when she walks by, he could be guilty of sexual harassment. Companies are required to protect their workers from any unwanted sexual attention from anyone on their premises.

Sexual Harassment St. Louis slurs can be aimed at men as well. The law makes a distinction between harassment based upon sex and harassment based on sexual orientation. If a man’s colleagues are constantly hanging pictures of naked women or men over his desk they are guilty of sexual harassment if this makes him uncomfortable. However, if they tease him about being a homosexual this might not be considered harassment. Even if it makes him feel uncomfortable. It is this type of distinction that makes it difficult for a lay person to know what is and isn’t precisely sexual harassment.

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