It isn't uncommon for offensive coworkers or bosses to try to characterize sexual harassment as innocent fun. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation regardless of whether the offender is having fun or not.
With that said, New Yorkers may be interested in a recently settled lawsuit involving a former law enforcement officer and his former boss. The man claimed that he was eventually forced to resign after the woman sexually harassed him for months.
The man brought the lawsuit in 2012, and the sexual harassment was said to have occurred in 2011.
According to the man, the woman harassed him in a variety of embarrassing and humiliating ways, including unwanted lap dances and pulling her shirt over the man's head and forcing him against her breasts. The man, who worked in law enforcement for 30 years, also said the woman repeatedly used sexually suggestive language and offered oral sex multiple times.
During the trial, the man said he attempted to document the offensive behavior with a hidden camera, but the woman somehow found and deleted the video. She then tried to have him prosecuted for wiretapping and demoted him from his position. He later resigned.
The lawsuit was filed shortly before the woman was up for reelection to office. She denied the allegations throughout the trial, but a jury found unanimously in favor of the man. He was awarded $567,000 in compensation for back-pay and other damages.
This case was tried in Texas, but this sort of hostile work environment could arise anywhere. Workers who have been victimized by sexual harassment need to understand that help is available.
Source: CBS Houston, "Jury Awards Man Over $500K In 'Motorboat' Sexual Harassment Suit Against Female Boss," March 24, 2014