North Carolina Prohibits Sexual Harassment.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

No one should have to endure the indignity of sexual harassment at work. Both our federal courts and our North Carolina courts provide remedies for individuals who are sexually harassed at work and whose employers refuse to take action to correct the situation.

How is “sexual harassment” defined by the law?

Sexual harassment is unwanted, unwelcome conduct that has a sexual content.

It can be gestures, jokes, pictures, touching, or, overt sexual propositions.

Is my employer responsible when another employee sexually harasses me?

Generally yes, with two important considerations to keep in mind.

First, in general, if the person who harasses you is a supervisor (even if not your direct supervisor, but, not a coworker to you) the employer is responsible for the conduct of the supervisor, whether or not it has been reported.

Second, if the harasser is a coworker, the employer is responsible unless it had knowledge about the harassing behavior and failed to take action to prevent further harassment.

OTHER FORMS OF HARASSMENT

Other kinds of harassment claims may be based race, national origin, age (if your are over 40), religion, or, permanent disability. If your work environment permits employees to make derogatory remarks, jokes, gestures, or, subjects you to other content that is derogatory toward your race, national origin, age, religion or disability, you may have a claim for harassment.

HOSTILE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

A hostile working environment is one where a person is treated with hostility because of a person’s race, sex (including sexual harassment), national origin, age (over 40), religion, or, permanent disability. The harassing conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive so that it alters the conditions of your employment and creates an abusive working environment.

Severe means: even if it happened only once, the conduct was so extremely offensive or outrageous that it constitutes hostility.

Pervasive means: the conduct is ongoing, it happens often, and/or occurs throughout the workplace, even if any one instance taken by itself does not seem particularly offensive.

To make a federal claim for hostile working environment, the last instance of conduct must have happened within 180 days of the date the claim is filed.

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