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Understanding forms of sexual harassment in the workplace

Federal law has prohibited sexual harassment in the workplace for decades. However, harassment continues to be a problem in many work environments throughout the Kansas City area. You may understand that that an employer cannot request sexual favors from a worker in exchange for career advancement. Unwelcome sexual advances also constitute unlawful conduct in the workplace.

Yet, sexual harassment may seem more pervasive than you thought. Last year, Cosmopolitan magazine surveyed 2, 235 women between the ages of 18 and 34-years old and found that roughly one out of every three women had suffered some form workplace sexual harassment. Many cases go unreported. However, sexual harassment is not a thing of the past. For the past 15 years, formal sexual harassment complaints have remained fairly steady with somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 complaints filed each year, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A Supervisor Or Manager Is Not Always The Aggressor

Not all sexual harassment involves the conduct of a manager. Similarly, not all complaints describe heterosexual harassment. Men and women alike can be the target of this kind of egregious and unlawful conduct. An aggressor may be the same sex as a victim. Managers, coworkers and even a patron of a business can be the source of a hostile work environment.

For instance, many waiters, waiters and bartenders are subjected to unlawful sexual advances from patrons of the establishment. If an employer allows customers to make offhand sexual comments, derogatory remarks based upon sex or engage in other forms of offensive sexual conduct, the effect of the pervasive acts may create a hostile work environment.

Earning a living is hard enough without the added stress that a hostile work environment can create for a worker. Unfortunately, victims of sexual harassment are seldom relieved of the stress at the end of the work day. Employees have the right to work in a job free from unwanted sexual conduct. Anyone who is experiencing a hostile work environment may find it helpful to discuss the issue with an experienced employment law attorney who can explain what legal options may exist to fully address the problem.

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