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It is an unfortunate reality but harassment in the workplace is a common occurrence. Colorado residents are harassed on the basis of their religion, skin color, age, and race. Behaviors include making racist jokes, negative comments about someone’s religion or making offensive gestures or comments. Sexual harassment in the workplace is similar in that there is harassing behavior but differs in that it is of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment includes uninvited comments, or behavior regarding someone’s gender, sexual orientation or sex. It is important to keep in mind this includes both verbal and physical behavior. For example, sending suggestive letters or emails, telling lewd jokes, staring in an offensive manner, asking sexual questions or making offensive comments about someone’s sexuality can all be forms of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is not necessary that a superior engage in the offensive behavior. It could be a co-worker, a client, a contractor or even a vendor.
Sexual harassment is unlawful if it creates a hostile work environment. This means it interferes with a worker’s ability to perform their duties or with their success. Creating an uncomfortable work environment can also be a form of sexual harassment, and this is not only for the victim—it could be for nearby co-workers standing close, even thought the offensive behavior is not directed towards them.
Employees spend as much time at work as they do at home, if not more. They deserve to be treated with respect and be appreciated for their contribution to their jobs. When they are made to feel uncomfortable at work and are unable to work any longer due to a hostile work environment, they should consider standing up for their rights. Consulting an experienced attorney on how to get justice can be one way to proceed.