There is not a prescribed list of things that constitute sexually harassing behavior; however, there are a number of factors to consider in making the determination for whether behavior constitutes actionable sexual harassment.

  1. To establish actionable sexual harassment, the conduct must be “unwelcome.” In Henson v. City of Dundee, the 11th Cir. explained that conduct is unwelcome when “the employee did not solicit or incite it, and in the sense that the employee regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive.”
  2. The conduct must be severe or pervasive.
    1.  As it relates to severe conduct, this is most used in cases where sexual assault is involved. This may include coercive physical conduct such as in quid pro quo cases.
    2. In terms of pervasive conduct, the more incidents, the stronger the case will be. The most common kinds of harassment are lewd remarks, sexual propositions, groping, or staring at a woman’s body.
  3. The conduct must alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. The question here is whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
  4. The kind of evidence needed to prove that behavior constitutes sexual harassment depends on the type of conduct that is occurring. For example, proof of motive may be needed to establish that a comment, that is not otherwise sexual in nature, was made because of your gender.

Our Birmingham, Alabama employment law firm has handled a number of workplace sexual harassment cases throughout the State of Alabama. If you feel you may have experienced harassment in the workplace please contact us at (205) 588-0699 for a free consultation to discuss your potential case.

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