A Beginner’s Guide to Verbal Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment law can be quite nuanced. A quick quip here or there may not constitute sexual harassment, but a barrage of them often does. Just like many areas in life – it’s not always black and white. There’s a fine line when millions of dollars, jobs and more can be on the line.

Verbal sexual harassment can be even more difficult to fully understand. Crude jokes, sexist comments and more can be sexual harassment if certain conditions are met. To give you a greater understanding, we created this guide to help you determine what is and isn’t harassment.

The Basics of Verbal Sexual Harassment

Instead of trying to explain exactly what is and what isn’t verbal sexual harassment, we’ll elaborate using examples. If your co-worker asks you out on a date one time and you reject him or her, this is perfectly fine. It’s an unwanted advance, but not harassing in nature. If a co-worker continues to ask you out every single day for a month and you begin feeling uncomfortable, this could be verbal sexual harassment.

If you’re told or hear a crude joke one time, then sexual harassment probably has not taken place. If you’re forced to hear crude or sexual jokes and comments all day, every day for months on end and you have asked the individuals involved to stop and/or spoke with management – you may have experienced verbal sexual harassment.

If someone in the office continually calls you “babe” or “love” and you’ve asked him or her to stop, but they don’t – you may have experienced sexual harassment. Constant catcalls and whistling also may qualify in certain occasions.

The key with verbal sexual harassment is constant harassment. Unless the verbal sexual harassment is incredibly vulgar, the only way you may have a case is if the harassment is pervasive.

What to Do If You’re Facing Verbal Sexual Harassment

The first thing you need to do if you believe you’re being verbally sexually harassed is document everything. Take notes when you begin to feel uncomfortable. You also want to immediately make your feelings known to the perpetrators, your supervisor or both.

Look through company policies and procedures and determine what the company should do when you voice your complaint. Document what they do. This will help your case when you first meet with a sexual harassment lawyer.

By having notes and working with your company to fix the problem before you go to a lawyer, your case will have much more legitimacy in the courtroom. Many times co-workers won’t know how you feel unless you let them know.

The Best Sexual Harassment Lawyers in Kansas City

If you’ve experienced verbal sexual harassment in the Kansas City area, we hope you’ll reach out. At Hollingshead, Paulus, Eccher & Fry, we strive to protect your rights to ensure you have a harassment-free workplace. Get in touch if we can be of service.