My manager talks a lot about his sex life. Is that sexual harassment?

My assistant manager talks about his sex life and drug life in detail every time I work with him. I am not the only employee he has talked to about this. We are given vivid detail of with whom and when he has sex. He talks about his drug use and takes pills while at work. He is also gay, not that it matters, but he doesn’t “come on” to me personally. Is this considered sexual harassment?

Posted  12-08-2010

Ann Kiernan replies:

To be illegal hostile environment harassment, the conduct has to be:

  1. Discriminatory or sexual behavior that is
  2. Unwelcome to the recipient, that is
  3. Severe or pervasive enough to interfere with work, and that
  4. The employer knew, or should have known, about it and did not take effective action to stop it.

Looking at your situation, you certainly have factors 1 and 2, which is probably enough to violate your company’s policies right there. If this sex talk really goes on every day, you have factor 3 covered, as well.

Has anyone reported this to HR, the legal department, or higher management? And has nothing been done to stop it? If so, then you will have factor 4. But if no one has spoken up, now is the time to do it! Not only is the assistant manager creating a hostile work environment for everyone who does not want to hear about his bedroom exploits, he is also violating policy and perhaps creating a dangerous workplace through his illegal drug use.


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.