When Stalking Can Be Sexual Harassment

When Stalking Can Be Sexual Harassment

There are many instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. Read the news on any day and you can find an article where an employer is being sued by an employee for sexual harassment. While employers have a duty under the law to protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace, many types of sexual harassment still occur. Sometimes it is hard for an employer to identify instances of sexual harassment amongst workers unless the victim worker or a witness comes forward to reveal the sexual harassment.

Harassers can get carried away with their acts of sexual harassment. What might start as an innocent gesture of kindness on the part of the victim, might signal to the harasser that the victim is interested in the harasser. Then progressively more serious harassment occurs. Additionally, what might start in the workplace, could carry over into the personal life of the victim.

Stalking as Sexual Harassment In the Workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace is any action, communication or harassment that is sexual in nature committed by one worker against another. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and can even bleed over into other forms of harassment, such as stalking. For instance, in the workplace if one worker clearly has interest in another worker, or victim, and harasses the victim by saying strange things, or making inappropriate gestures, or touching or following the victim around the office, the harasser’s actions could constitute sexual harassment and stalking.

Stalking doesn’t necessarily have to be physically performed. A harasser could stalk a co-worker online, either at work or on their own time. Stalking and sexual harassment are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and could occur at the same time in some situations.

When The Lines Between Work Life and Personal Life Are Blurred

There are many smaller companies, and project divisions within larger companies, where the line between workers’ work life and their personal life is blurred. For instance, workers who are constantly on call for their bosses, or workers who have to use their personal phone for work purposes, have a much harder time segregating their personal and work lives from one another than someone with a nine to five job with no work-related disruptions while they are off the clock.

Workers who have blended lives are more at risk for sexual harassment, especially in the form of stalking, because they are required to provide constant access to themselves as part of their job. A boss, who sexually harasses his personal assistant, has easy access to her through texts and calls to her cell. He might call at absurd times and could say inappropriate things.  The boss might also enable GPS tracking on the assistant’s phone, claiming it is required as part of her job, so that he knows where she is all the time. Teasing her about where she has been, or sending her inappropriate texts, pictures, or messages, especially if there are sexual undertones to these communications, can constitute stalking, as well as workplace sexual harassment.

Call Now For A Free Initial Consultation

The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline can help you deal with your workplace sexual harassment claims, whether it involves stalking, discrimination or anything else.  Contact our Chicago, Illinois sexaul harassment  lawyer today for a free consultation.