When we think of sexual harassment, visions of secretaries being leered at by bosses or young women who feel they have no choice but to give in and sleep their way to the top. However, sexual harassment can happen anywhere – and “office,” “boss” and even “women” are not necessarily part of the equation.
Restaurant wait staff, for example, faces a seemingly never-ending stream of customers who can be harassers at any point of the interaction. From an overt slap on the butt to an obnoxious comment or crude come-on, waiters and waitresses bear the brunt of ongoing harassment that is, indeed, sexual in nature all day long. The truth is, even at restaurants like Hooters or the Tilted Kilt, where sex appeal is part of the atmosphere, sexual harassment is illegal.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is against the law to harass someone because of their gender. Sexual harassment can include unwanted advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal sexual abuse. Men and women can both be victims of sexual harassment and the harasser can be a boss, a supervisor in another area of the company, or someone else – a vendor or a customer, for example.
Similarly, while the law doesn’t state that teasing or general unwarranted comments are illegal, it can be considered unlawful sexual harassment if – in the example of a waitress-diner scenario – the waitress is made to feel as though she is in a hostile or offensive workplace.
If you or someone you know is facing sexual harassment charges in Atlantic City, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. John W. Tumelty understands that joking around can escalate into charges being filed. He will work hard on your behalf to get the charged downgraded or even dismissed. Contact him for a free consultation about your case.