Sexual Harassment Attorney Explains Joking and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
What is Sexual Joking in the Workplace?
When funny comments cross the line to offensive comments, lewd conversations and inappropriate sexual joking, it can create an intimidating, uncomfortable working environment.
When is joking considered sexual harassment?
Sexual jokes and comments can come in many forms. They can be verbal or written or include images that are sexual and offensive in nature. Sexual joking constitutes sexual harassment when the behavior is unwelcome and/or the victim has expressed that he or she would like the conduct to stop. However, “unwelcome” does not necessarily mean “non-consensual” A victim may feel the need to engage or participate in inappropriate conduct even when the content is offensive and unwelcome. For example, you may have felt your job was at risk if you did not participate in sexist jokes and you wanted to be seen as a “team player.” Sometimes, an employee is compelled to participate in the sexual banter in a need to “go along to get along.”
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Examples Of Sexual Humor or Comments
Examples of sexual humor that could count as sexual harassment may include:
- Jokes demeaning towards women
- Teasing regarding someone’s sexuality or sexual orientation
- Sexual comments about a person’s physique, appearance or clothing
- Forwarding or generating sexual imagery and sending through email
- Social media posts of a sexual nature directed toward you.
- Sexual stories or innuendos
- Sexual gifts
- Asking about a person’s sexual history or preferences
- Rude, crude, and sexual gestures
There may be other types of sexual jokes, comments, gestures that may be considered sexual harassment — if you are unsure, speak with a sexual harassment attorney for additional insight. If the behavior continues, you should contact your supervisor and/or the Human Resources Department. If your complaints are ignored or the offensive conduct does not stop, speak with a sexual harassment attorney in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia or Miami right away.
Sexual jokes and a hostile work environment
Some employees may think off-color humor is amusing, without even realizing they are creating a hostile work environment. Others may intentionally use sexual jokes as a way to intimidate other employees or subordinates. According to the EEOC, such harassment creates a legally hostile work environment when “such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”
Once a hostile work environment has manifested, it may be time to seek legal remedies. Different victims may define a hostile work environment in different ways — what may be acceptable for one worker may be completely repugnant to another. So, let a sexual harassment attorney review your case and help you understand your legal options.
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If you have been exposed to inappropriate sexual jokes, comments, and sexual harassment at work, let the sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group help. We are advocates for victims’ rights, pursuing justice for workers ready to fight back. Contact our law firm at 800-807-2209 to schedule a free consultation.
Different Types of Sexual Harassment Cases We Handle:
- Hostile Work Environment
- Quid Pro Quo
- Unwelcome Request For Sex
- Sexism in the Workplace
- Sexual Bribery
- Sexual Gift-Giving at Work
- Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor
- Workplace Sexual Coercion
- Non-Employee Sexual Harassment
- Gay and Lesbian Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment at Off-Site Events
- Stalking in the Workplace
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Co-Worker Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation Harassment
- Unwanted Physical Contact
- Same-Sex Sexual Harassment