What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Not too long ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a company for sexual harassment. The company that was sued violated federal law by allowing a manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment.

Enforcement actions such as this are important reminders that employers and employees must be aware of what constitutes sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment includes inappropriate conduct that's sexual in nature such as:

  • Comments, jokes, or degrading language or behaviorthat is sexual in nature or unwelcome comments about body appearance;
  • Sexually suggestive objects, books, magazines, photographs, cartoons, pictures, calendars, posters, electronic communications, or other materials;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any sexual touching; or
  • Offering favorable terms or conditions of employment in exchange for sexual favors or threatening less-favorable terms or conditions of employment if sexual favors are refused.

If you haven't already, we recommend completing the H/R and Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace training modules. In addition, there is a Human Resources reference guide available to you on the Healthcare Compliance Pros website that answers many of the questions you may have about sexual harassment and other forms of harassment that could potentially occur in the workplace.

According to the EEOC "having a sexual harassment policy in the workplace is meaningless unless employees are made aware of it and management conveys to the workforce that the company will enforce it."

Did you know?

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. Recently, HHS published a Final Rule that makes it clear sex discrimination based on: an individual's sex; pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions; gender identity; and sex stereotyping is prohibited.

A few months ago, we published the summary of the final rule HHS announced to protect individuals from discrimination in health care. The effective date of the final rule is July 18, 2016. Watch for article to be published next week regarding Nondiscrimination Posting Requirements and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) posting requirements under the final rule.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the H/R and/or Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace training modules, please do not hesitate to contact one of our professional consultants.