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Authority over others defines employer sexual harassment

Sexual harassment can take several forms at workplaces in Florida, but employer sexual harassment refers specifically to inappropriate behavior by authority figures directed at subordinates. A business owner, member of management or a supervisor who makes sexual advances, physical contact or lewd comments could create a hostile environment for workers. Even employees who are not targeted by the sexual comments might feel that they have to condone the behavior or risk their jobs.

People who hold authority over the livelihoods of others sometimes choose to use their positions to extract sexual favors or make people tolerate touching or lewd jokes. They might even offer rewards to employees who grant sexual favors. In some cases, the harassers do not understand that their behavior is not acceptable at work.

Frequently, employer sexual harassment presents as a male boss harassing a female subordinate. Legally, however, either gender can commit sexual harassment, and the parties involved might be the same gender. A single sexually suggestive joke does not amount to harassment. The incident might even be viewed as harmless, but ongoing sexual comments or requests for sex that are unwanted could meet the legal standard for sexual harassment.

A person experiencing inappropriate comments, touching or invitations to engage in sexual acts should first ask the person to stop. If this request is ignored, then the person should make a written complaint to management to establish a record of the problem.

An attorney could inform a person about rights in the workplace and how to take stronger action to halt mistreatment. After obtaining legal assistance, a victim could make a complaint that cites the violation of specific laws. An attorney could manage settlement discussions with the employer or advance the case to the courtroom if necessary.

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