NH Hostile Work Environment – Complaining about a sexually hostile work environment is a difficult thing to do. For a variety of reasons, complaining about sexual behavior at work feels risky and scary, and because of this, employees suffer in silence, often for long periods, hoping things will get better. Frequently they do not. And, as the cases below show, waiting to complain about your sexually hostile work environment will hurt your claim.
Do Not Wait to Report a Hostile Work Environment or Sexual Harassment
In Shepherd v. Comptroller of Public Accountants of Texas, the employee complained about a sexually hostile work environment created by her co-worker. This happened for approximately two years including intermittent offensive comments about her body parts, and intermittent touching of her arm, hand, shoulder and wrist. The touching stopped when the harasser was transferred after the employee’s complaint of sexual harassment. However, the employee waited to complain until after she received a negative performance review from her harasser, and a year after the offensive touching conduct ended. The employer’s sexual harassment policy required “immediate” reporting. The Court ruled the employee had not shown sufficiently severe or pervasive conduct to amount to a violation of law.
In Miller v. Regents of the University of Colorado, the harasser’s infrequent sexual propositioning, leering, and mild touching of the plaintiff lasted for the first five years of the plaintiff’s employment. After that, the conduct stopped. Where the employee did not complain of the conduct until two years after the harassment stopped, the Court did not find sufficiently “severe or pervasive” harassment had occurred during the five-year period.
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or workplace discrimination, you should consult the New Hampshire discrimination lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 for a free evaluation or fill out our online contact form for a free evaluation.