Verbal Sexual Harassment
Not all types of verbal sexual harassment have to specifically be a perpetrator’s request for physical behavior or an obvious whistle or some other type of heckling behavior. Some types of verbal sexual harassment may actually be considered acceptable by some people, however, under the law, if the behavior makes the intended target uncomfortable and is unwanted, it qualifies as verbal sexual harassment. If you find yourself working in this type of environment and you have made it perfectly clear that you want the behavior to stop, then you may have grounds for a harassment claim.
Verbal harassment can take on a variety of forms. If the perpetrator makes inappropriate innuendoes, jokes, or suggestions, then this can be considered verbal sexual harassment if this type of behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. If a person shares intimate details of their sex life or asks you inappropriate questions, this too may qualify as harassment.
It is also not uncommon for subtle comments of verbal sexual harassment to be targeted against all employees of one gender. But it is important to remember that just because the practice is widespread does not make it okay. The law says you have the right to work in an environment that is free of this type of behavior. The law protects you from being forced to endure these types of incidents.
Other Types of Verbal Harassment
Although sexual verbal harassment appears to be the most obvious type, verbal harassment can also occur if the perpetrator makes derogatory or offensive comments about a person’s religion, political statements, bullying, or calling the victim a derogatory name.
You can report this type of harassment even if it is not being directed at you. Specifically, if the conduct creates an uncomfortable or hostile environment, the harassment can be addressed by any employee even if he or she has not been directly targeted.
Under the law, verbal harassment is gauged depending on how it impacted an alleged victim, not on the intent of the perpetrator. The law states that even a person who the harassment is not targeted at can be affected and, if so, they also have the right to file formal complaints and lawsuits. This is especially true if the person affected is a member of a federally protected group because of their race, color, religion, gender, age, or whether they have a disability. Consider seeking out a discrimination lawyer such as one from Eric Siegel Law, if you or someone you know are dealing with harassing and discriminatory actions at their workplace.