Definition of intimidating work environment
Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment.They should clearly communicate to employees that unwelcome harassing conduct will not be tolerated.The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in Melnychenko v. Leonid Melnychenko and two other employees at a Massachusetts lumberyard were subjected to humiliating verbal and physical conduct by Richard Raab and two other employees. Joseph Oncale worked for Sundowner Offshore Services on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico from August to November 1991. Sexual harassment may also be visual, such as cartoons, pictures, or objects of a sexual nature.Raab loudly demanded sexual favors from the men, exposed himself, and simulated sexual acts. Oncale's supervisor and two co-workers forcibly subjected Oncale to humiliating sex-related actions in the presence of the rest of the crew. Oncale complained to other supervisors, but no remedial action was taken. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Sexual Harassment: Cases, Case Studies, & Commentary. The laws against sexual harassment are violated when "submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of…employment." This language refers to what is sometimes called quid pro quo sexual harassment, in which a victim's hire, job security, pay, receipt of benefits, or status depends on her or his response to a superior's sexual overtures, comments, or actions.Victims may be coerced into going along with sexual talk or activities because they believe they will be punished or fired if they protest.
Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.
Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.