First, what does “hostile work environment” mean? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it means offensive conduct severe or pervasive enough to affect the conditions of employment. In other words, it is conduct that makes it difficult or impossible for a worker to perform his or her duties.
Many different kinds of conduct can make a workplace unpleasant, but only specific actions can be considered sexual harassment. In most cases this includes:
— Making sexually suggestive comments
— Discussing sex
— Touching someone unnecessarily
— Making comments about a person’s physical attributes
— Engaging in offensive language and indecent gestures
— Making unwanted sexual advances
Further, a single instance of these behaviors may not be sufficient to qualify as a hostile work environment under Florida law. To be considered a violation of the law, the conduct must be severe and pervasive. A few factors that can support the severe and pervasive requirement include the frequency of the conduct, whether the victim felt threatened and whether the behavior interfered with the victim’s ability to work.
Many victims do not know if they are truly employed in a hostile workplace or if they are a victim of sexual harrasment. A good rule of thumb is to note the way the conduct makes you feel, how often it occurs and if it makes your job difficult or impossible. If, however, you are still unsure, you might consider talking with a lawyer about your case. Doing so can provide you with clear and authoritative advice based on the specific details of your experience.
We urge you to continue reading our web pages to find out how the Florida legal system can help you with sexual harassment in the workplace.