While it’s common knowledge that all employees are protected from discrimination, sexual harassment and non-sexual harassment in the workplace, many do not realize that those who are applying for jobs are also protected from this type of mistreatment.

If you are a job seeker and you believe that you may have experienced sexual harassment during the job application process, you should take the time to understand the laws federally and in Missouri. By doing so, you’ll be able to confidently take legal action if necessary and successfully gain the damages that you are entitled to. The following is an overview of what you need to know regarding pre-employment sexual harassment laws.

What counts as the pre-employment phase?

The pre-employment phase is defined as the first communication you have with a potential employer in a professional context, up to the point of signing an employment contract. During this time, you are protected from any type of sexual harassment.

What counts as sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment involves written or verbal communication, or body language, that is offensive. If there is any type of physical behavior that extends beyond subtle movements such as purposefully brushing up against another person, the behavior could be classified as sexual assault.

An example of sexual harassment in the pre-employment phase could be your potential employer commenting on your physical attractiveness in an interview. Any comments about appearance are inappropriate in a professional context.

Alternatively, if your potential employer insinuates that obliging with sexual favors could help you to get ahead in your career, or that not tolerating an office environment that uses sexually crude language could mean that the job would not be suitable for you, this could count as sexual harassment.

In summary, any comments about sex in the workplace or a job interview are inappropriate. If you experience any type of sexual communication that makes you feel uncomfortable or you feel impacted whether you were employed or not, you may be able to make a successful sexual harassment claim.

If you are unsure of whether you were a victim of sexual harassment when applying for a job, it is important that you inquire about how the law applies to your specific situation.