When a sexual harasser is a customer

In workplaces that deal with customers and harassment from third parties, the process for dealing with such incidents should also be conveyed just as clearly to employees, says Sunu Chandy, legal director at The National Women’s Law Center. “So many of the workplaces right now have this interaction between temp workers, independent contractors, vendors, clients, customers, all kinds of people who may not be ’employees,’ but are still in your workplace and could be abusing you,” she says. “If someone is in your workplace harassing you, that is something the employer needs to deal with.” Tipping and store commission can create work environments where harassment is ignored, or in worst-case scenarios, even encouraged, Chandy says. But the legal standard for harassment from customers is the same: the employer has a duty to keep employees safe.