Question

What Counts As Sexual Or Racial Harassment In A Rhode Island Workplace?

Sponsored Answer
V. Edward Formisano - Employment Litigation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: V. Edward Formisano

Located in Cranston, RIFormisano & Company, PC

Phone:
Fax: 401-944-9695

View Profile
Answer

Sexual and racial harassment are unacceptable in the workplace. Both are also prohibited by state and federal law. In general, any activity that creates a hostile work environment or has a negative effect on your employment can rise to the level of illegal harassment, whether based on your race, sex or other legally protected trait. Both employers and employees can be held accountable for this behavior. 

Hostile Work Environment Definition 

Many people have coworkers they would rather not interact with and bosses they would like to avoid. However, behavior only becomes illegal when it specifically involves a protected trait – in this case your race or sex – and is severe or pervasive. While a single offensive remark may not be legally actionable, a pattern of behavior or a single extreme incident can sufficiently impede a person’s ability to do their job so that they can claim a hostile work environment. 

Examples Of Sexual Harassment 

According to the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment can include the following:

  • Promises of professional advancement in exchange for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome touching
  • Discussion of sexual topics in your presence
  • Lewd jokes and remarks about your sexual orientation or desires
  • Leering or staring
  • Catcalling

 It is important to note that anyone can be the victim of sexual harassment, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The laws prohibiting sexual harassment apply equally to everyone. 

Examples Of Racial Harassment 

Racial harassment can also take many forms, including:

  • Racial slurs
  • Offensive symbols or gestures
  • Insults relating to a person’s skin color or racial background
  • Ongoing comments about the race of a person’s spouse

However, this list is far from exhaustive. Many other kinds of activity can qualify as racial harassment as well. 

Documentation Is Key 

To establish that you have been the victim of racial or sexual harassment at work, you should gather as much evidence as possible. Save emails, texts and ask if coworkers would be willing to give a statement corroborating your account. You should also keep a journal that chronicles the offending behavior. No amount of documentation is too much. The more you have, the stronger your case will be. 

It is also important to enlist the services of a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Even though your experience may be crystal clear, navigating the legal specifics can be difficult, and doing so on your own can unnecessarily jeopardize your claim.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers By V. Edward Formisano

Photo of V. Edward Formisano

Is my employer required to pay me overtime in Rhode Island?

Some employers intentionally mislead their workers about overtime requirements. However, the truth is that almost …

Sponsored answer by V. Edward Formisano

Photo of V. Edward Formisano

What should I do if I am offered a severance package or separation agreement under Rhode Island law?

When leaving a job, a severance package or separation agreement may offer some short-term monetary benefit. …

Sponsored answer by V. Edward Formisano

Other Answers About Employment Law - Employee

Photo of Patrick D. Dolan

I’ve been offered a severance agreement in Illinois. What do I do?

No matter how things have ended at a place of work, signing a release and getting a severance agreement comes with …

Sponsored answer by Patrick D. Dolan

Photo of Michael L. Puklich

When can I sue for workplace sexual harassment in Minnesota?

No matter what industry someone works in, there’s always some degree of stress. And while stress can be …

Sponsored answer by Michael L. Puklich

Photo of Gary Phelan

Can I file a lawsuit against my current or former employer in Connecticut?

The legal environment for doing business in Connecticut allows for businesses to manage their workforce as their …

Sponsored answer by Gary Phelan

Call Me

To: V. Edward Formisano

Super Lawyers: Potential Client Inquiry

Disclaimer »
Privacy Policy »
*Required fields
Page Generated: 0.85227704048157 sec