In an ideal world, everyone would feel completely safe and comfortable going to work, but this isn’t always the case. Typically, when we think of sexual misconduct, we think of a supervisor or coworker being the perpetrator, but what happens when the aggressor is a nonemployee? To help you understand what your employer’s obligations are and what your rights are as an employee, let’s review what third-party sexual misconduct is.
In the eyes of the law, third-party sexual misconduct occurs when a nonemployee of the company sexually harasses an employee. This could be a vendor, a delivery person, a client, or a customer who interacts with the employee and engages in sexual misconduct. The critical distinction is that the employer did not hire the perpetrator, nor are they affiliated with the company. They may provide a service for the company or work with the company in some way, but the courts would still consider this third-party sexual misconduct.
If the person isn’t an employee of your job, is your employer obligated to take any action? If your employer gets made aware of the sexual misconduct, it is up to them to ensure they do not hire that person’s services or they bar the client from returning. If you want to file a complaint, you should take it to your employer, and it is their duty to investigate. However, suppose the employer knew about the incident and took no corrective action, or had reason to believe that investigating the sexual misconduct was a risk. In that case, your employer can get held legally liable.
Now that you know what third-party sexual misconduct is, what should you do next? If you’ve filed a complaint with your employer, they should attempt to separate you from the perpetrator. However, if your employer doesn’t attempt to take corrective action or keep you safe, you should seek legal representation immediately. This is especially pertinent if the perpetrator continues to harass you. In this case, the workplace would become hostile, giving you more ground to take legal action.
If you aren’t sure whether your experience counts as third-party sexual harassment or your employer refuses to take action, contact The Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder today. We’ll put you in contact with our knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated sexual harassment attorneys so you can get the legal counsel and representation you deserve.