Does flirting and bantering between co-workers constitute sexual harassment?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

It is hard to state a hard-and-fast rule. When friendly and mild bantering or horseplay between the sexes crosses the line and becomes sexual harassment is the type of thing courts exist to decide.The fact that an employee participates in or tolerates or laughs off mild sexual innuendoes or lewd remarks (perhaps to fit in with the crowd) does not mean that the employee welcomed the conduct. Employees later can complain of sexual harassment even if they did join in if they did not invite the remarks. However, should matters get out of hand, even employees who encouraged or started the off-color remarks with coworkers may have cause to complain. It is a question of fact.

The same can be said of flirting. What can be flattering or complimentary to one person can be offensive, objectionable, and frightening to another. One person may regard flirting or mild horseplay as innocent fun, and it may not be viewed as objectionable at the time of the behavior, but someone else may see it as aggressive, insulting, and demeaning, or down the road it may be regarded as part of a pattern of a hostile environment.












(Reviewed 9-08)



Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption