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Does your boss have to protect you from sexual harassment by clients or customers?

by | Jan 13, 2021 | Sexual Harassment |

You’ve heard it all from the people who walk through your company’s door. You get called, “sweetie,” “babe,” “sexy,” and “honey,” all the time by some of the men. For the most part, you turn a deaf ear to their comments and ignore their mostly lethargic overtures.

There’s one client, however, who doesn’t seem to know when to quit. You’ve tried to verbally and physically enforce boundaries, but they push right past them — and they’re just as free with their hands as they are their words.

When you complain, however, your boss says to “humor” the client because they spend a lot of money. What else can you do?

Your boss has a legal duty to protect you from all sources of harassment

It doesn’t matter where on-the-job sexual harassment comes from: Your boss is still required to provide you with a safe working environment.

While workplace education tends to focus on what employees can do when they experience harassment from a manager, team leader, co-worker or vendor, it seldom delves into how employees should handle the situation when a client is their harasser.

Employers know that they have the responsibility to protect you from harassment. The fact that they don’t want to “rock the boat” with valuable clients is irrelevant. Once your employer is aware of the problem, they need to take action. That could mean simply assigning the problem client to a different employee — or it could mean telling the client to take their business elsewhere.

If your employer failed to protect you from sexual harassment, fight back

If your employer won’t act on your behalf, it may be time to ask an attorney to do so. You should never tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace, nor should you be asked to do so.