Sexual harassment occurs when someone displays unwanted sexual advances or otherwise sexual behavior toward you. Workplace sexual harassment is against the law in Hawaii.
In addition to advances from your employer, this law applies to unwanted sexual conduct from others in the workplace.
Other sources of sexual harassment
Hawaii’s sexual harassment laws apply to you as an employee, regardless of who the harasser is. Coworkers are often perpetrators of sexual harassment. These situations could be more frequent when you work closely with other employees. Additionally, clients of your employer may also engage in this unlawful behavior. Your employer might hesitate to address these scenarios due to concern over losing employees or customers. Examples of sexual harassment from coworkers or customers include:
- Demands for sexual favors in return for preferential treatment or keeping your job
- Openly displaying sexually suggestive photos, objects or other materials
- Inappropriate physical touch, coerced sex or assault
- Jokes or comments of a lewd nature
- Attempt to discuss someone’s sex life
Liability for sexual harassment
According to Hawaii state law, your employer is liable for sexual harassment from other employees if they knew the behavior was happening and did not address it. Your employer is also responsible for choosing to do nothing about non-employees, such as clients, sexually harassing you. If your employer ignores sexual harassment in your workplace, you can file a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission by calling (808) 586-8636.
You do not have to accept inappropriate sexual behavior at work. Hawaii labor laws addressing sexual harassment exist to protect you from the unwanted sexual advances of others in your workplace, including coworkers and customers.