Amid all the talk in Kentucky and across the nation about sexual harassment and attempts to put a stop to it, people are frequently confused as to what constitutes sexual harassment. There are many misconceptions regarding the inherent behavior. In addition, people who are simply feeling awkward or uncomfortable with the way someone is acting on the job often fail to realize they are being sexually harassed and that steps can be taken to hold them accountable. That includes considering a legal filing for compensation. Knowing the definition of the behavior and when it is considered harassment according to the law is key.

The laws against sexual harassment apply for workplaces that have 15 or more employees. Of course, it includes the obvious behaviors and acts such as there being unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances, requests that the victim perform sexual favors and verbal or physical conduct that is considered sexual. It must also impact the person’s employment in an implicit or explicit way, hinder their performance at work and lead to them being intimidated, experiencing hostility or the work environment being deemed offensive.

Although sexual harassment is often generally categorized as men harassing women, it can be in any combination of genders with women harassing men, men harassing men and women harassing women. It does not necessarily need to be someone in a position of authority over another person at the job. An owner or supervisor can commit sexual harassment, but it can even extend to co-workers, contractors and even customers. The person complaining does not need to be the victim – it can simply be someone who witnessed it and was offended. It is critical that the behavior be unwelcome.

When a person is victimized by sexual harassment or is unsure as to whether the behavior meets the criteria to be considered a violation of the law, contacting a legal advocate can be useful in deciding if there is the foundation to file a lawsuit. Experienced attorneys can explain the behaviors and other factors that can warrant a legal filing for compensation due to sexual harassment. Calling is the first step.