Colorado employers have a responsibility to make sure that their work environment is a safe place for all employees. One way to ensure that workers feel comfortable at work is to take steps to prevent and stop sexual harassment.
Employees who are being sexually harassed at work may be able to file a legal claim against their employer, alleging hostile work environment and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be verbal or physical, and anyone of any gender can be a victim. Some common forms of sexual harassment include.
- Unwanted sexual advances.
- Inappropriate comments or gestures.
- Requesting or offering sexual favors in exchange for job-related benefits.
- Jokes or stories involving sex.
- Unwanted physical contact or touching.
Employers may be held liable for sexual harassment in the workplace in the following situations:
- The employer fails to implement policies and trainings that discourage sexual harassment.
- The employer fails to properly investigate sexual harassment complaints.
- A supervisor harassed an employee and took adverse action against them (e.g., termination or demotion).
- A coworker was harassing an employee and they failed to take immediate action to address the situation.
Hostile work environment
An occasional inappropriate comment may not be enough to constitute a hostile work environment. However, if a victim can prove that the harassing behavior is offensive, severe, pervasive, and continuous in nature, and prevents them from doing their job, they may have a valid claim for hostile work environment.
Under Title VII, gender or sex discrimination is prohibited in the workplace. Sexual harassment is considered a part of sex discrimination. If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, you should collect the necessary evidence, and consider filing a claim against your employer. If your claim is successful, you could recover damages for back pay and emotional distress.