Life can change in an instant if you experience a work-related injury. The short answer is that they can, provided the conduct outside of work has a bearing on the employment relationship. If the OSHA inspectors speak to the business owner or managers about the matter, they will tell company representatives that the harassment occurred away from work and the OSHA regulations about workplace violence address harassment in the workplace only. Hostile Work Environment Harassment. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. David Gibbs is the president of the Christian Law Association , which has provided free legal assistance to thousands of workplace believers. If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment by a co-worker or supervisor outside of work, report it to your employer immediately and get legal help. Can an employee be fired for activities outside the workplace? ... By Aaron Hotfelder, J.D., University of Missouri School of Law. Company Policy Considerations. Sexual harassment can happen at your actual place of work, or it can happen outside of work, like when a coworker texts you inappropriate messages, or if you’re traveling for a conference. Whether you can be fired or not rests with your employer. If you've been fired illegally, you can sue for damages and, in rare cases, even get your job back. Physical Harassment. Whether alleged harassment of another employee outside of work will count against you -- and even result in a demotion or termination -- depends on your company's policy regarding these kinds of issues. Physical harassment, also often called workplace violence, refers to a type of … Bosses, however, are the most likely candidates to bully in the workplace, possibly because they have power. Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. Although it is in the best interests of the organization to eliminate bullies because they cause increased staff turnover and sick leave, few organizations or government agencies … You need to give adequate notice to your employer, write a formal resignation letter, and be prepared to move on prior to submitting your resignation. Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. When it comes to sexual harassment that takes place outside the confines of work, different companies may have differences in policy as to how the incident should be handled. Generally speaking, you can’t be arrested for saying abhorrent things, but you can be fired. In civil cases for harassment that occurs outside the workplace, you must meet a four-prong legal test to sue for harassment and emotional distress. This means harassment at work is a no-no at work; however, harassment elsewhere isn't explicitly addressed. Fraternization can become a sexual harassment lawsuit if the relationship ends badly. No matter if you’re in the office, at a happy hour event, on business travel, or in the confines of your own home, sexual harassment can occur almost anywhere. Moreover, you can be terminated for harassing another person outside of work if your actions have occurred in a pattern over a period of time and are making the other person uncomfortable at the workplace. Bullies can be bosses, co-workers, or even subordinates. Eisenberg & Baum’s experienced sexual harassment attorneys are ready to discuss … Federal law protects employees from retaliation when employees complain—either internally or to an outside body like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—about workplace discrimination or harassment. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column. Examples of harassment outside of the workplace that might result in termination include sexual harassment or assault, threatening actions or language toward a co-worker that might cause them to be uncomfortable in the work environment, courting personal favors using work-related tasks or responsibilities (wash my car or I'll make you organize the office supply room) or inappropriate language or advances that occur repeatedly. When you do things outside of work that reflect poorly on yourself as an individual and on the company as a whole, your bosses might find grounds to terminate your employment to spare the company the embarrassment of your actions. Your employer is well within his rights to fire you … Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Harassment at work is prohibited by federal and, in many cases, state law. 1. Keep in mind that despite the fact that your personal time is your own, you are a representative for your company at all times. Whether you can be fired or not rests with your employer. One question that faces everyone is whether whether confronting someone outside of work is considered harassment or simply a matter of protected speech. Some states (New York, California, Colorado, North Dakota) have passed laws which prohibit discrimination against an employee for participation in legal activities outside work hours. This will depend on whether or not there are company policies prohibiting sexual harassment outside of the workplace, as well as the court’s decision. However, the laws are not always clear-cut. 1. Your employer is responsible for any harassment done by any of your colleagues if the discrimination happens to you at: work ; work-related events or business trips - like an office away day Should your employer choose to terminate your employment for harassment away from work, you may be able to fight that termination based on your First Amendment right of free speech, but you may lose even if your comments are true. Most companies have a policy regarding harassment of another employee, no matter whether the incident takes place at work. The Federal Court considered that the … She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. They are shocked when they are fired for complaining. Taking disciplinary action for off-duty conduct is appropriate in these cases. Insolence. Harassment outside of work, though, isn't directly prohibited. Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim. 2. Any sexual harassment of employees or other individuals related to your business (such as a client, customer, vendor, or independent contractor) outside of the workplace or after hours can contribute to a “hostile work environment” and violates employment laws. Harassment at Company Events So if the reason for your termination is not illegal under the laws of your state, then yes, your employer can fire you for what you do on your own time, outside of work. A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Employers can legitimately assert authority over any out of hours conduct that threatens the efficient operation of the workplace. Harassment at work, threats by a romantic partner and stalking by an acquaintance may all rise to the level of legal action, provided you meet the legal requirements to file suit. If you harass one of your co-workers in the office, you might be out of a job before the end of the next workday. Such an attorney can provide information regarding your rights and assist you if you are disciplined or terminated for sharing your faith at work. The laws regarding protected speech are constantly evolving. This is because both parties' feelings about the incident can carry over into the work environment, affecting the parties involved and those around them. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects workers from this type of retaliation and provides a number of remedies for such situations in the form of … At some time during your working life, you may have dated, or even married, someone you met at work. After the EEOC investigation, the company paid damages to both the employee and her supervisor. It all comes down to the laws in your state. The person doing the harassing may also be disciplined according to company policy if the issue is carried over into the workplace because employees are considered company representatives. Can I Get Fired for Harassment Towards an Employee Outside of Work? If there is an accusation of harassment from one employee against another, the company must take action to avoid being accused of allowing a hostile work environment. However, an employer cannot fire an employee for an illegal reason such as due to race, sex, age, nationality, religion, disability, or in retaliation for whistleblowing.