If the ceo of my company told another co-worker that I looked like a “playboy bunny”, is this sexual harrassment or just unprofessional?

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If the ceo of my company told another co-worker that I looked like a “playboy bunny”, is this sexual harrassment or just unprofessional?

I’m offended by this.

Asked on March 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It may well be sexual harassment--any sex-based comments by a senior executive to or about employees can constitute sexual harassment. If it's a one-time comment and you suffer no negative employment impact from it, it's unlikely you could, as a practical matter, recover enough to make a lawsuit worthwhile--but it still may  constitute sexual harassment. If you do endure repeated comments or any negative impacts, then you probably would have a viable lawsuit.

The only circumstances in which this would likely not be sexual harassment would be if the context makes it plain it was nothing but, and could be nothing but, a joke, not harassment--e.g. if you are a 250-lb, bald, tatooed male.


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