Popular culture tends to romanticize the prospect of finding love in the workplace. From Jim and Pam of television’s “The Office” to the characters played by Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in the film “What Women Want,” popular culture seems to be filled with arguably endearing office romance scenarios. Unfortunately, romance in the workplace is rarely so straightforward and is rarely so inviting in real life.
In the real world, individuals tend to spend their time at their workplaces actually working. Friendships, engaging lunches and water cooler chat are common occurrences in any number of American workplaces. But at the end of the day, workers primarily desire to keep their work and their private lives relatively separate. For example, it is rarely inviting to have one’s boss initiate any sort of sexual behavior in the real world. In the real world, this kind of behavior is a form of sexual harassment and should not be romanticized but should instead be addressed in the ways that the law demands.
The law protects Americans from many forms of sexual harassment in the workplace. Especially when individuals in positions of authority decide to engage in behaviors that can be considered sexual harassment, workers have a right to have that behavior not only halted but also properly addressed. If upper management, human resources or the company’s owners are unwilling to properly respond to such a situation, workers may opt to consult experienced employment law attorneys in order to explore their legal options.
Whether your boss insists on giving you inappropriate hugs, insists on sexual favors, calls you inappropriately sexual names or engages in any other form of inappropriate sexual coercion, you have a right to be protected from such behavior. If you have any questions about the ways in which sexual harassment is addressed by federal and state law, please contact a lawyer with your concerns.
Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “5 Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors Not to Tolerate From Supervisors,” Brett Snider, July 16, 2014