Wisconsin workers are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace by both Wisconsin state law, (WFEA), and federal laws, such as Title Vll, the EEOC, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Harassment issues are frequently about inappropriate conduct in the workplace, specifically, or from a fellow employee’s standpoint focusing on protected categories, such as , race, sex, or disability, gender. This conduct must be offensive and of a unwelcome nature.This negative behavior is required to be repetitive, not just fun type teasing, or a one time off colored joke.These forms of office behavior can also be viewed as offensive, but the key is frequency, especially after the harasser is asked to stop.
Under both Wisconsin state and federal laws, a company can be liable under harassment laws for the actions of the following:
- The manager, or a employee who is in a position of authority, within the companies structure.
- A fellow co-worker, a supervisor, or owner
- Customers or vendors
Keys to Prevention:
Awareness, Prevention, Recognition, Response & Compliance
To prove an employer is liable for workplace harassment, an employee must be able to prove workplace “unwelcome conduct”
Including these forms:
- Classes that are protected, such as age, gender, disability,etc.
- Harassing comments or conduct viewed as unwelcome
- Harassing comments or conduct pervasive enough to create a hostile environment
- Racial or discrimination related comments
- E-mails or electronic communication
- Requests for sexual favors
- Lewd gestures
- Impact vs. Intent
Examples of a Hostile Work Environment:
- Making comments about someone’s sex life
- Telling sexual off color jokes
- Making sexually demeaning comments
- Giving sexually suggestive “gifts”
- Making sexual or lewd gestures
- Touching, groping, or patting anywhere on the body
- Unwelcome contact against someone’s body
Employees are also protected under both the Wisconsin & Federal laws.This can include a response of termination, demotion, write-ups, reassignment, or other disciplinary actions of employment following a complaint.
Workplace Harassment . . .
The areas to the right are all covered:
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