What You Need to Know About Georgia Third-Party Sexual Harassment

Federal law requires Georgia employers to provide employees with nondiscriminatory working conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about third-party harassment in Georgia.

Georgia considers it illegal for customers, clients, or vendors to sexually harass employees. If an employer does not address third-party sexual harassment, an employee can file a lawsuit.

Sexual Harassment in Georgia

Georgia law does not explicitly address sexual harassment in the private sector, but federal law does. Under federal employment law, sexual harassment is a type of discrimination where an employer, fellow employee, or third party harasses an employee because of their sex.

Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical sexual acts. In Georgia, these sexual acts may be sexual harassment if they create a hostile work environment for an employee.

Federal law doesn’t limit sexual harassment to sexual acts. It can also be sexual harassment if someone singles out an employee for their sex. For example, if one employee makes offensive remarks about women in general, Georgia may consider it sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment goes beyond simple teasing or bullying. To prove sexual harassment, a harasser’s conduct must be:

  • Unwelcome,
  • Severe or pervasive, and
  • Based on sex

While most sexual harassment victims are women, it is important to remember federal law protects all genders.

Related: At-Will Employment in Georgia: What You Need to Know

Georgia Sexual Harassment Laws

Unlike many other states, Georgia does not have a private-sector sexual harassment law. Instead, Georgia law prohibits sexual harassment at state agencies with 15 or more employees.

Federal law protects most Georgia employees from discrimination, including sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in any workplace with 15 or more employees.

Some local ordinances also protect Georgia workers from third-party sexual harassment. For example, Atlanta’s local ordinance makes sexual harassment illegal in the workplace.

While not every Georgia city has explicit sexual harassment laws, federal law protects all Georgians who work at a job with 15 or more employees from sexual harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment in Georgia

Sexual harassment falls into two main categories, “quid pro quo” sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

“Quid pro quo” sexual harassment is when an employer or supervisor pressures an employee into sexual acts using their authority. For example, a superior may threaten to fire an employee if they don’t perform sexual acts. A superior who says they will give an employee a raise or promotion if they perform sexual acts is also guilty of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.

This sexual harassment is “quid pro quo” because an employer or supervisor is demanding sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits. “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment may be easier to prove because it involves official employment decisions such as promotions.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Most third-party sexual harassment is hostile work environment sexual harassment. Hostile work environment sexual harassment is when an employer does not take reasonable care to create a discrimination-free work environment.

There are many ways employees, customers, and clients can create a hostile work environment. The most severe cases involve physically touching an employee in a sexual way. If a third party repeatedly makes sexual innuendos or comments, this may also create a hostile work environment.

Third-Party Sexual Harassment In Georgia

In Georgia, third-party sexual harassment is when a customer, client, or vendor sexually harasses an employee. A third-party harasser creates a hostile work environment for an employee and makes it difficult for an employee to do their job.

In Georgia, a victim of third-party sexual harassment should immediately alert their supervisor or human relations representative. These authority figures may be able to deal with the harassment immediately.

Related:  Georgia Equitable Distribution FAQs

If an employer does not properly address third-party sexual harassment, a victim can file a sexual harassment claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A sexual harassment victim must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on their website before filing a lawsuit against an employer.

Third-party sexual harassment victims have 180-days to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. In some cases where there is a local anti-discrimination law, the EEOC extends the deadline to 300 days.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Third-Party Sexual Harassment Georgia, get your free consultation with one of our Women’s Rights Attorneys in Georgia today!