Sexual harassment lawyers from all over the US agree, in order to stop sexual harassment you have to know what it is. Without being able to know and identify sexual harassment, stopping it is impossible.
Knowing what constitutes a case of sexual harassment is key to recognizing it when you see it. Sexual harassment can be physical advances that are unwanted and unrequested, asking for "sexual favors", and even comments that demean who they are as a person.
Many cases of sexual harassment within the United States include bosses offering a promotion or pay increase for a sexual favor. Some cases of sexual harassment have even been due to jokes that leave women as the butt of the joke, if it's sexually charged or not. That's due to the difference between men and women, our sexes. If a woman is joked about, it's because she is a woman, and that is sexual harassment.
Those jokes, comments, and sexual prods at the female employees create what is legally called a hostile work environment. Once a hostile work environment can be proved due to sexual harassment, there is a solid case for a cash settlement. That can have huge effects on the company, the employees, and the business as a whole.
There have been various reports released by the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the vast majority of offenses have been events that were much more serious than simply breaking company policy. The law doesn't protect any person from isolated teasing or comments. Once the comments and teasing become regular and routine, the victim may feel harassed, and that is a hostile work environment.
The legal standard of sexual harassment stands like this: Courts use the reasonable individual ideal. The comments and harassment has to be so severe that any reasonable individual would show affects in and out of the work place. An employee that is constantly sexually harassed may have been getting treatment for depression, ulcers, anxiety, and a constant feeling of emotional stress that can't be relieved.
The major factors that the courts will take a close look at is the frequency of the harassment, the severity of the offenses, the embarrassment of each instance of harassment, if it's threatening to the physical safety of the employee, and whether or not the conduct actually effects the work performance of the employee. If all of these factors are met, or even the majority of them, the courts could decide to move forward with charges.
One of the best ways to avoid this is by having employees and supervisors take sexual harassment training. When compared to the cost of a sexual harassment case, sexual harassment classes will be a mere drop in the bucket of yearly expenses. The classes per person are low-cost and very effective, especially when done online. That option gives the enrollee the opportunity to learn comfortably in their home. Requiring your employees to take training will prevent harassment through knowledge. As I said before, the number one way to stop sexual harassment is to know what it is and how to identify it.