Is it considered sexual harassment if your employer watches porn day in and day at work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it considered sexual harassment if your employer watches porn day in and day at work?

He is the owner of his business and I am the only full-time employee and he has a part-time girl also. He will sit in his office and watch porn day and day out. You can hear it sometimes but if you are faxing an item you can see it on his computer. He will close his screen if he sees you coming. I just think it is sick and I am desperately looking for another job to get out of there.

Asked on September 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, while this does consitute grossly unprofessional behvior, it does not consitute any form of actionable harassment. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a business owner can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This, unfortunately, includes viewing pornography in their office. The only claim you would have is if this treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (which it does not appear to since sexual harassment at work typically has to do with unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or the like), or if this action violates the terms of a union agreement/employment contract. Your only recoure is to put up with this bad behavior, complain and risk termination, or quit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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