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Brandon, Esq.
Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1800
Experience:  Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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Work meeting. Flirtatious conversation turned into harassment

Resolved Question:

Work meeting. Flirtatious conversation turned into harassment witnessed by others. Company lawyer would like to discuss. I would rather not discuss. Options?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Brandon, Esq. :

hello and thank you for your question today.

Brandon, Esq. :

Are you online with me?

Brandon, Esq. :

Welcome to the chat

Brandon, Esq. :

There are many issues at play here, all of which are determinant on whether you are the harasser, or the harasee.

Brandon, Esq. :

Can you tell me more about what happened?

Brandon, Esq. :

And can you tell me what state you are in?

Customer: At a work meeting, approached by friendly customer. Had dinner with the group from work. Conversation with this customer was friendly but e was flirtatious. Nothing I have not dealt with before. He became more aggressive and I was in a very uncomfortable situation because he is an important customer of a colleague of mine. I was cordial, refused his aggressive gestures to go beyond conversation. Work colleagues picked up on it. He has reputation within our company as being perverse. Our lawyer found out and would like to discuss further. I would rather move on and out it behind me. I'm a big girl! I don't really want it to go further than this!
Brandon, Esq. :

Okay, so the reason the attorney wants to talk to you, is because IF you were to file a claim against the company stating that you were in a hostile work environment due to your sex, and they failed to do anything about it given the circumstances, then you would have a claim against them under Title VII

Brandon, Esq. :

However, if all you want to do is put it behind you, then you can just tell the attorney that you didn't feel offended and the matter will be put to rest

Brandon, Esq. :

the attorney is simply trying to protect the company in case YOU decide you want to file a claim.

Brandon, Esq. :

That being said, if you did complain, and any adverse employment action occurred as a result, then you would have a claim for retaliation against the company.

Brandon, Esq. :

So, your options are 1) to simply tell the lawyer that you did not feel harassed and the conversation will be very short. 2) explain to the lawyer that you do feel harassed (though if you do you should put it in writing), or 3) dodge his calls, however, this is the worse of the options especially if you are an at will employee

Brandon, Esq. :

The reason I say that, is because if you complain, you are protected. If you don't complain, they have no reason to look into it further. If, however, you refuse to talk to them, then they can use that as legal grounds to fire you if you are an at will employee for failure to cooperate with an internal investigation.

Brandon, Esq. :

At will employees can fired for any reason that does not violate their civil rights or is in breach of contract. So, if you are an at will employee, they could use that as grounds to bring about some negative employment action against you.

Brandon, Esq. :

Does that make sense?

Customer: Yes it does make sense. I am a manager with the company and at will employee. My boss was witness to part of the events during dinner. Although the customer was pretty much out of line, I never told him that his gestures were unwelcome. I am not offended but I will definitely be uncomfortable being around him at future meetings. I believe the company also wants to discuss his behavior with me and other female employees at the company and I just don't want to be a part of that discussion. Does that make sense?
Brandon, Esq. :

It completely makes sense.

Brandon, Esq. :

And I am terribly sorry to see that you have been forced into this situation.

Brandon, Esq. :

The company cannot force you to be a part of something you do not want to be a part of.

Customer: I believe I am the third person who has had this experience with this particular customer. I do think that the company needs to protect themselves. I think they will have more than enough info without my participation. He is an influential customer. I think you've been very helpful. I will state that I was not offended by the interaction.
Brandon, Esq. :

I am glad I could give you the information you were looking for. Have I fully answered your question today?

Customer: Yes you have. Thank you.
Brandon, Esq. :

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further. If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Brandon, Esq. :

Have a wonderful rest of your evening.

Customer: I will. Thank you for the excellent service!
Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1800
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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