Is teasing of a sexual nature by staff and fellow residents of a drug treatment facility considered sexual harassment?

My daughter recently left a drug rehab program because of being bullied. Some staff and some residents of the rehab program made nasty comments about the way my daughter and her clothing smelled. Implying that she may have an STD. No one came out and just asked the appropriate question which I think should be between staff and her alone. There was other bullying going on as well. This bothered me so much that I needed to find out as we are trying to find another rehab facility.

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Personal Injury, Colorado


Stephen Harkess / Harkess & Salter LLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sexual harassment generally refers to activity which is prohibited in an employment context.  You are dealing with your daughter as a customer of the facility.  That is not the usual situation where we would talk about sexual harrassment.  It certainly sounds like the facility was unprofessional, but the primary remedy is to move to a different treatment provider, which it sounds like you are working on.  Extreme situations could support a civil claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress or even criminal harassment charges, although it is unclear whether what your daughter experienced rises to that (rather high) level.

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