Work Locations Where Sexual Harassment Could Occur

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  • 0:01 Workplace Sexual Harassment
  • 0:47 Harassment on…
  • 2:14 Harassment at Worksite
  • 3:25 Harassment Outside of…
  • 5:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Workplace sexual harassment is a serious problem for both employees and their organizations. In this lesson, you'll learn what constitutes the 'workplace' for purposes of sexual harassment. A short quiz follows the lesson.

Workplace Sexual Harassment

Meet Vicki. She's a consultant currently working with a start-up computer gaming company. Although she doesn't know it yet, Vicki is going to have a bad day. She is going to be a victim of several instances of workplace sexual harassment. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment encompasses 'unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.' Workplace sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, but what exactly constitutes the workplace? Let's follow Vicki through her bad day to find out.

Harassment on Employer's Premises

Vicki spends most of her time at her client's worksite but has stopped off at her home office today for a quick meeting with her manager and a partner of the consulting firm, Jeremy. As usual, Jeremy leans over Vicki and touches her in a manner that Vicki does not like. He also asks Vicki once again on a date where they can discuss her upcoming review for possible partnership. Vicki gets the message but politely declines. Jeremy's jovial mood turns a bit cold, and the meeting ends.

Before heading off to her worksite, Vicki stops off at the company's break room to grab a cup of java for the road. While pouring a cup in her travel mug, she overhears a group of employees telling derogatory jokes of a sexual nature. She sees it's the same group of employees that always tell crude jokes and even sends them through the company e-mail system to all employees. Today's jokes are particularly offensive, and Vicki gives them a disapproving stare, which is met merely with eye rolling.

So far, Vicki has been subject to two instances of sexual harassment at her employer's premises. Unfortunately, her day is far from over.

Harassment at Worksite

Vicki arrives at the client site and is disappointed to see the client, Lucy, eagerly waiting for her. Lucy is a young programmer who is a homosexual and very much attracted to Vicki. Lucy is always bugging Vicki about experimenting with her sexuality. She's attempted to get Jeremy to speak with the client, but Jeremy won't do it because Lucy's the daughter of the owner and he's afraid of losing the account.

Vicki has been sexually harassed. Keep in mind that workplace sexual harassment need not occur on the employer's premises but can occur at any remote worksite. This includes company-sponsored events, such as seminars and workshops that you are required to attend. The fact that Lucy is a client and a woman does not affect Vicki's employer's obligation to take immediate and appropriate action within its control to stop Vicki's harassment if the employer knows, or has reason to know, it is occurring because the harassment is occurring in the context of Vicki's work activities.

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