Matt Kirnan / Employment law ,

Off Duty Sexual Harassment

We are often asked whether an employee’s allegation of sexual harassment that occurs outside the workplace needs to be investigated by an employer – simply put, an employer should investigate the sexual harassment complaint even if it occurs off-duty and/or outside employment hours.

If a job connection exists, Human Resources should investigate a complaint as some Courts have already held that employers may face liability if they were aware of the complaint and failed to address it.  In addition, off-duty sexual harassment often spills over into the workplace.  A quick review of the many forms sexual harassment in the workplace can manifest:

  • Romantic or sexual messages via email or social media;
  • Sending explicit pictures;
  • Using power or position to gain favors;
  • Unwelcome touching;
  • Stalking, following or badgering;
  • Improper jokes or stories;
  • Asking about a co-worker’s personal life or sexual history.

We review any harassment claim in multiple policies rather than just sexual harassment, and endorse mandatory training for sexual harassment to help ensure compliance.  As always, if you have any HR questions or concerns, please feel free to call our hotline at 201-400-2283.

Bolivar HR Consulting conducts numerous training sessions including Sexual Harassment. Sexual Harassment training is mandatory for private employers in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia and Illinois. Many States require State employees to complete sexual harassment training either every year or every two years.