Q. The vice president of my company, whom I appointed, is really a nice guy, but he has propositioned many of the female employees on multiple occasions for sexual acts in his office. He has a great attitude towards the female employees who agree, but those who refuse have been recently discharged without my consent. Is this sexual harassment?
A. Yes, absolutely. Sexual harassment exists when (but is not limited to) an employee is subject to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and if 1.) submission to these acts is made a term or condition of employment, or 2.) submission to or rejection of a sexual invitation is used as a basis for employment decisions.
Another indicator of sexual harassment is if the sexual advance, request or conduct substantially interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
It is important to remember that in some cases, liability can be avoided by having an adequate policy prohibiting sexual harassment and taking prompt and appropriate remedial action.