Sexual harassment in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involved the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Women have been the claimant historically, but claims by men have increased. Perpetrators can be business owners, managers, coworkers and even subordinates. In some instances, customers, vendors, clients and independent contractors can be guilty of sexual harassment. Employers have a responsibility to stop this behavior or bear the legal liability of their inaction.
What Is Third-Party Sexual Harassment?
Third-party sexual harassment claims hold an employer responsible for the harmful behavior of employees and others who you may have to be in contact with as a part of your employment. Most understand that manager or business owner can use their position while committing sexual harassment, but the perpetrator does not need to be in a position of authority. For example, your place of business may have a security officer you must pass daily upon entering the company’s property. This person doe not hold a position of authority over you. This person many a contractor- not an employee of the company. Nonetheless, the company must make reasonable attempts to stop harassment.
Third-party harassment must be proven so severe that it constitutes a hostile or abusive work environment. This is fairly clear cut when the offender inappropriately touches the victim, but not all touching would qualify. Touching that at first was not a problem can become one should it continue even requests for it to stop
Employer Liability for Third-Party Harassment
Determining if an employer is liable begins with understanding if the employer knew of should have known about the problem, but did not take the necessary steps to stop it. Let’s say an employee complains that a co-worker, with whom they must work regularly, has been making offensive comments. The company should immediately investigate and take requisite actions to address the claimants concerns. If the client or other third party won’t change his behavior, this might leave the company with no alternative but to end the relationship with the outsider.
Employees considering making a claim are often concerned about retaliation. Like it sounds, illegal retaliation entails penalizing employees who have been harassed. This can take many forms like moving a sales representative off a major account or reassigning the claimant to a different position. Employers can be held liable for retaliation too.
Seeking Legal Help
Prior to meeting with an attorney, you should gather all pertinent documentation related to the offense. Third-party harassment claims can be complicated. If you feel you have been a victim, contact Clore Law Group immediately for a free consultation.