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Understanding sexual harassment could benefit Florida employees

Feeling safe in a work environment is very important for all employees. Sexual harassment can lead to a person dreading their work days or even causing them to leave their position altogether. It can be somewhat confusing, however, when trying to determine what constitutes as sexual harassment. In some cases, reporting incidents to superiors may be enough action, but in other situations, legal action may be necessary.

It is important for Florida employees to understand that not every negative comment or action from a co-worker or superior can be considered sexual harassment. Nevertheless, that does not mean that continual and inescapable torment should go unreported. Harassment can range from verbal comments only to physical acts or a combination of the two. Should the actions come from a fellow co-worker, filing a complaint with a supervisor or other superior may be enough for the harasser to be appropriately reprimanded. If it is not handled correctly or if the harassment stems from a superior, legal action may be necessary if the incidents occur often enough to be considered a serious issue.

Another type of sexual harassment can occur when a superior offers benefits, such as promotions or pay increase, in return for sexual favors. If an employee refuses such offers, a superior may insinuate that the person could be terminated or have their job negatively affected in other ways. These are both serious instances of sexual harassment, and could be grounds for legal action to ensure that that type of harassing behavior does not continue.

Determining if an employee has been sexually harassed can sometimes be difficult if a superior is willing to dismiss certain actions or if the actions have only occurred once or twice. While any number of instances deserves to be looked into by employers or supervisors, court systems may need more sufficient evidence before they can proceed with a case. Anyone believing that they may have been sexually harassed at a place of employment could find looking into Florida laws relating to their situation beneficial.

Source: Source: utsandiego.com, "Legally speaking, what is sexual harassment?" Greg Moran, July 11, 2013

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