Sexual harassment is any kind of conduct in the workplace that makes sex or sexual issues a factor. When conduct interferes with the work environment, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, it is illegal under Florida and Federal law.
An employer can be held liable for sexual harassment or a hostile work environment claim directly or indirectly. If the harasser is not the victim’s supervisor, an “employer will be held directly liable only if it knew or should have known of the harassing conduct but failed to take prompt remedial action.” Miller v. Kenworth of Dothan, Inc., 277 F.3d 1269, 1278 (11th Cir. 2002). The 11th Circuit has ruled that the sexual harassment must be “sufficiently pervasive” to impute knowledge to the employer.
As for the employer’s “prompt remedial action,” a major Court has held the employer’s action was effective if “the investigation was reasonable under the circumstances.” This is a vague standard.
Many employees want to know what is going on with the company’s investigation after lodging a sexual harassment complaint. Working alongside a harasser while an investigation is ongoing can be excruciating, but many employers don’t keep the victim apprised of the investigation. If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, an attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the pre-litigation phase.
When you challenge inappropriate workplace behavior you are not only asserting your right to work in a workplace free of sexual harassment, but you are protecting us all from harm.