When it comes to sexual harassment, the devil is in the details. Asking someone out on a date or making friendly conversation isn’t usually sexual harassment. But telling the difference between what one court recently called a “tone deaf” suitor and a true harasser isn’t easy.
To help, courts have come up with a list of factors employers should consider when trying to determine whether an employee has been sexually harassed at work. They include:
- The physical environment where the complaining employee works
- The level of obscenity that fills that environment
- The nature of the unwelcome sexual words or sexual gestures
- The frequency of the offensive encounters
- The severity of the offensive encounters
- Whether the comments or gestures are physically threatening
- Whether the offensive conduct unreasonably interfered with the employee’s work
- Whether the offensive conduct had an effect on the employee’s psychological well-being.
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