What some workers may consider “goofing around” or “horse play” can have serious consequences. In a recent case out of Mississippi, a nursing home supervisor pulled down the pants and underwear of a nurse in front of several co-workers.
The nurse later resigned from the job, stating that the offensive conduct made her job intolerable. She then filed a sexual harassment claim, explaining that the conduct “created a hostile work environment” in violation of Title VII.
Sexual harassment is probably the most well known form of employment discrimination. What is not as well known is just what sexual harassment is. In order to prove sexual harassment, you must show that you have been subjected to unwelcome conduct that creates a hostile environment based on your sex that is sufficiently severe and pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of your employment. Sexual harassment is not easily defined – if you have questions about unwelcome conduct or believe that you have suffered sexual harassment at work, it is a good idea to consult with a dedicated Georgia sexual harassment lawyer at once.
Here, the nurse alleged that the supervisor “engaged in a constellation of offensive behavior that ran the gamut from entering the bathroom while she was using it to bragging about having sex with the company's nursing director, calling sex chat lines, and simulating ejaculation.” He then yanked her pants and underwear down during an incident that occurred in front of several co-workers.
Although this conduct seems to be clearly offensive – the case raised several important points about harassment lawsuits. First, the employer claimed that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the worker did not complain about the incident. Instead, it became aware of the situation when another employee complained. The company also stated that when it gave the work the opportunity to file a formal complaint, she refused to discuss the matter and instead quit her job.