Sexual Harassment And Other Illegal Harassment
Our employment laws protect employees against illegal harassment based on protected characteristics. The law does not make employers liable for all conduct that could be considered harassing -- employers can be picky, demanding, unfair, and even mean -- but they cannot engage in exceptionally egregious conduct that is directed at an employee because of a protected characteristic about the employee.
Sexual harassment is the best-known form of illegal employment-based harassment, but harassment is also illegal when it is based on an employee's religion, national origin, race, age, disability, or other protected characteristic. When an employer conditions job benefits on providing sexual favors (quid pro quo sexual harassment) or engages in a pattern of inappropriate conduct because of an employee's sex or other protected characteristic, the employee may be able to hold the employer liable.
The courts have established high thresholds for harassment claims. The employee must demonstrate that (1) the employer demanded sexual favors for some job benefit or engaged in a "severe or pervasive pattern" of harassment, (2) the harassment was based on the employee's sex, race, or other protected characteristic, (3) the sexual advances or other harassment was unwelcome (e.g., not consensual horseplay), and (4) the individual being harassed complied with the employer's anti-harassment policy, if it had one, by reporting the harassment in hopes of putting a stop to it.
Attorney Wes Sullenger has handled and successfully resolved several claims of sexual harassment and other forms of illegal harassment. If you believe you have been subjected to illegal harassment, call us at (270) 443-9401 so we can evaluate your case and discuss what we can do to help you.