According to the EEOC, "Harassment can include 'sexual harassment' or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature." The EEOC also explains that the victim can be harassed by a co-worker, an outside vendor or visitor to the workplace, or the employee's supervisor.
It is in this latter instance, where the relationships between supervisors and employees can become a problem in the workplace.
The tech industry — both startups and big companies like Google and Yahoo — have struggled with gender inclusion and its overall “brogrammer” culture.
The relationship between a supervisor and an employee may not appear to be a problem at the time of the romance, or right after, but an employee can come back and claim sexual harassment even after the relationship has ended.
Popular dating app Tinder is being hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by co-founder and former executive Whitney Wolfe.
Wolfe filed a complaint accusing her fellow senior executives of harassment, discrimination, verbal abuse, and downplaying her role in the company because of her gender.
Other employees who notice the relationship may claim a hostile work environment has been created by the ongoing relationship between a supervisor and his or her subordinate. Department of Corrections (2005), the courts determined in the case of a prison warden who had sexual relationships with three of his subordinates that employers should be held responsible for a supervisor's actions in sexual harassment situations.
The guidelines for sexual harassment are outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains the definitions and instances of sexual harassment in detail.