Hostile Workplace Sexual Harassment

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preventing and Addressing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace (Employee-version). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Preventing and Addressing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace (Employee-version) (online CE course)
Hostile Workplace Sexual Harassment

Hostile Work Environment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (whether or not of a sexual nature and including same-gender harassment), national origin, age, disability (mental or physical), sexual orientation, retaliation, or other legally protected characteristics when: 1. the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment; or 2. a supervisor's harassing conduct results in a tangible change in an employee's employment status or benefits (for example, demotion, termination, failure to promote, etc.). Examples of this type of harassment can include:
  • Off-color jokes, jokes about physical appearance, race
  • Compliments on an individual’s appearance or dress
  • Conversations between employees that take a racy turn: perhaps a wild weekend or a hot date
  • Images (photos, artwork, cartoons) that employees display in their workspace or share with each other in their photos, through e-mail, or otherwise
  • Taking pictures of other employees; sending pictures of employees to others