When are inappropriate jokes considered sexual harassment?

There is a fine line between having fun and taking it one step too far with inappropriate humor. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know when someone crossed this line, and you could feel confused, offended and wondering what you should do next. This type of gray area can be complicated to navigate, especially if you are unsure if you actually experienced sexual harassment or just a few inconsiderate remarks.

Sexual harassment comes in various forms, and not all of them involve a physical component. In some cases, sexual harassment involves mistreatment regarding a person's gender. In any case, victims of sexual harassment in the workplace would be wise to know how to protect their rights and take the appropriate action to hold liable parties accountable.

What counts as sexual harassment?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment may include unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Examples of this may include:

  • Offensive remarks about your gender
  • Physical contact that could be construed as sexual
  • Unnecessary or uninvited physical contact
  • Frequent comments of a sexual nature
  • Harassment that causes a hostile work environment
  • Any type of harassment that results in an adverse work-related decision

Harassment can be quite subtle and may come from a manager, co-worker, boss, supervisor from another division, or another person from your work. The harasser can also be a person of the same gender. While there is no law against simple teasing or an isolated incident involving a crude joke, you have the right to know your options and seek an end to inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

What happens next?

If you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment, wrongful discharge or other mistreatment because you reported sexual harassment, you may have valid grounds for a civil claim. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to do the following:

  • Seek damages
  • Hold liable parties accountable
  • Secure rightful compensation for wrongful termination
  • Restore your job
  • Prevent future harassment

You will find it beneficial to secure legal help as soon as possible after experiencing sexual harassment. Even if you are unsure of what you experienced or unsure if you have a case, it is always wise to know your options. There is no excuse for sexual harassment, and you will find it helpful to discuss your concerns with a legal ally who knows how to protect your rights as a Louisiana employee.