Both state law and federal laws offer workers protection against sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment. In 2021, Texas expanded upon its existing policy by spreading the liability for sexual harassment to cover more people and by increasing the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim.
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, over 27,000 of the roughly 98,000 harassment charges it received between 2018 and 2021 were about sexual harassment. That is over a quarter of the charges. In spite of the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and existing legal protections against it, many remain unaware of certain facts pertaining to it.
1. A hostile environment caused by verbal actions constitutes sexual harassment
Physical contact is not necessary for a person to be guilty of sexual harassment. Sexual comments that are unwelcome and make employees comfortable are also sexual harassment. Individuals also do not need to be the target of the said comments. If remarks made to coworkers create a hostile, unsafe environment for others, then even those to whom the perpetrators do not direct their comments may file a charge of sexual harassment.
2. Men may also be victims of sexual harassment
The protections do not apply only to women. Men may also suffer from sexual harassment and have the right under the law to file a claim about it.
3. Others besides the main harasser may be liable
Under the 2021 changes, if an employer sexually harasses an employee, he or she may not be the only legally responsible party. Other workers, managers and even third parties may also end up in court if they do not take steps once aware of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a serious and illegal concern in and out of the workplace that covers more than just physical or direct verbal attacks. The law shields employees from it.