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Sexual harassment happens outside the workplace, too

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Sexual Harassment At Work

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Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects many individuals across various settings, not just within the traditional workplace. It’s important for employees, especially women in South Florida who have experienced harassment at work, to recognize that these violations can occur in any work-related context.

Harassment at outside work functions

Often, we consider our office or primary place of work as the primary setting for professional interactions. However, work-related functions like meetings, parties, and conferences can also become environments where sexual harassment occurs. For example, consider an out-of-state sales meeting for a Florida-based company. During a social hour, a male supervisor might inappropriately touch a female employee or make unwelcome advances. Such behavior clearly crosses the line into sexual harassment.

Another scenario could be a company party held at a local restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Imagine several male employees, including the CEO, making sexual jokes in the presence of a female worker. These actions could be creating a hostile environment and thus might be considered sexual harassment. The setting outside the office does not lessen the impact or the illegality of the conduct.

Legal Framework and Your Rights

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, it is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s sex. This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It’s crucial to note that harassment does not have to be overtly sexual to be illegal. Offensive remarks about a person’s sex are also prohibited.

Harassment does not need to be confined within the four walls of your office, store, or other workplace to be considered illegal. If you have experienced harassment during any work-related function, you might be entitled to compensation. It’s essential to understand that protections against sexual harassment extend to all professional activities, regardless of location.

Taking action against sexual harassment

Recognizing that sexual harassment can happen outside the traditional workplace settings is vital. Employees should feel empowered to report inappropriate behavior during any work-related event. Understanding your rights is the first step towards ensuring a safe and respectful working environment for everyone.