The work environment cannot be intimidating because of sexual issues. Corporations may not make distinctions between men and women. Florida and Federal law prohibit sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment.
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual.
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Some examples of Sexual Harassment in Florida that are illegal may include but are not limited to the following:
Creating an offensive working environment by repeated written, verbal, or visual contacts with sexual overtones.
Written forms may include suggestive or obscene letters, notes and invitations.
Verbal forms may include derogatory comments, slurs, jokes and epithets.
Physical forms may include assault, unwelcome touching, impeding or blocking movements.
Visual forms may include leering, gestures, display of sexually offensive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters.
Establishing a pattern of conduct that would cause discomfort or humiliate a reasonable person at whom the conduct was directed and that includes one or more of the following:
Unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body; remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body; or remarks about sexual activity or speculations about previous sexual experiences; expressions of sexual interest after being informed that the interest is unwelcome.
Making reprisals, threats of reprisal, or implied threats of reprisal following a rebuff of harassing behavior.
Retaliating against a person for reporting or threatening to report sexual harassment.
Engaging in explicit or implicit coercive sexual behavior within the work environment which is used to control, influence or affect the employee’s career, salary or work environment, such as implying or actually withholding support for a promotion or change of assignment; submitting or threatening to submit an undeserved performance report, failing or threatening to fail the probationary period.
If you have a question about whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment or punished for reporting sexual harassment, please feel free to give us a call. We do not charge for consultations and under the law everything you tell us is confidential until you decide.
When you challenge inappropriate workplace behavior you are not only asserting your right to work in a workplace free of sexual harassment, you are protecting our daughters, sons and fellow citizens from being bullied or intimidated because of sex- It simply makes the workplace safer and more secure for everyone in our community.