By Jack Tuckner, Esq.
Is my employer liable if I’m being sexually harassed by a customer or client?
Absolutely. Yes. There’s no question. It is settled law that if you’re experiencing sexual harassment from a client, a customer, a vendor, it doesn’t have to be a colleague or a supervisor or a manager in your company. If in your workplace, you are dealing with sexualizing behavior that makes you uncomfortable, that’s intimidating, that’s hostile, your company IS responsible for you to protect you from it ,either by telling this vendor, client, or customer in no uncertain terms that they must stop it or no longer doing business with this client, customer or vendor, or protecting you in one way or another, from the sex-based degrading treatment that you’re experiencing, whether that person is a, again, a coworker, a manager, or a client or customer, and your company, can’t treat you worse as a result of complaining about it, giving them the opportunity to protect you from this sexualizing objectifying behavior.
I don’t care how important the client or customer is to the company. Your company must investigate your complaint about this type of sexual harassment, which means you must complain and let your company know preferably in writing, so you could prove that you’re letting them know exactly what’s going on that makes you so uncomfortable based on who you are as a man or a woman in the workplace. And then your company must resolve it for you. And again, not treat you worse, which is retaliation for filing an internal civil rights complaint, indicating that a customer or client has been discriminating against you on the basis of your sex. If you need any assistance, if you need to talk this through, your particular workplace situation around sexual harassment, please give us a call. I’m Jack Tuckner, sexual harassment attorney with the law firm of Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock and Sipser based in New York City.