Sexuality is a part of life, but sexual behavior isn’t always welcome or appropriate. When unwelcome sexual conduct happens in the workplace, it can be very damaging to the individual and the company. It can also be illegal. When victimized Minnesota workers report the inappropriate behavior, their employers are required to do something about it. When they fail to do s or when action is brought against the reporting employee instead of the misbehaving ones, they’re breaking the law.
Recently, the banking giant Wells Fargo was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which claims that the company failed to take action after employees at one branch complained about female workers. According to the claim, women were allegedly harassed about their sex lives and urged them to dress in a more sexually provocative manner in order to retain customers.
The EEOC said it found that workers repeatedly complained about the behavior to management, but they were apparently ignored. One bank teller said she began to hate her job because of the harassment, and that going to work felt demeaning and humiliating.
The EEOC defines sexual harassment in the workplace as unwelcome sexual advances or sexual conduct that unreasonably interferes with job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. It’s not necessary that the harassment comes from people of the opposite sex, or that it involve sexual propositions.
Employees who are the victims of this kind of behavior must try to end it themselves and report it to management, if necessary, according to their employer’s policies. When these strategies fail to work, the employee may report the problem to the EEOC. That’s how the lawsuit process begins. Minnesota workers shouldn’t have to put up with unwelcome sexual behavior in the workplace, and their employers should take them seriously when they report it.
Source: EEOC.gov, “EEOC Sues Wells Fargo for Same-Sex Sexual Harassment,” Sep. 25, 2013