Kansas has strict laws that protect citizens against harassment and stalking, as well as laws that safeguard employees from hostile work environments. These laws were overhauled in 1992 to reflect changes in technology and are frequently revised to keep up-to-date with the new channels that offenders can abuse, such as email. Though harassment and stalking charges should be directed immediately to law enforcement agencies, it may be wise to hire a lawyer to assist with workplace harassment charges.
Under Kansas law, it is illegal to use the telephone to badger, abuse or otherwise bother an individual. The possible charges for harassment include using the telephone for obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent communications; making a call with the intent to abuse, threaten or harass any person in the home; making or causing the telephone of another to repeatedly ring; or making calls to harass, whether or not a conversation takes place. If charged with harassment, the accused faces Class A misdemeanor charges, which carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and no more than $2,500 in fines. Persons knowingly allowing others to use their phones to make harassing phone calls can also be charged under this law.
The stalking laws in Kansas apply to persons who repeatedly follow or harass other individuals, putting these individuals in fear for their safety. Offenders can also be charged for interactions taking place not only in person, but by mail, email, phone or other modes of communication. Stalking in Kansas is considered a Level 10 person felony. Stalking in Kansas carries a potential sentence of up to seven months in jail if the offender does not have a previous criminal record; otherwise, the potential sentence will be higher. If the offender has been convicted of stalking the victim in a previous incident, the minimum sentence is 17 months in prison. Up until 2008, in order to charge someone with stalking, the accused must have made a "credible threat" to the safety of the victim; however, now the victim only needs to prove that she has reason to fear for her safety.
Laws Protecting Employees
Regarding harassment in the workplace, most companies outline their policies regarding harassment, sexual or otherwise, in their employee handbook. Statewide laws prohibit harassment that takes the form of direct sexual conduct (where a co-worker or supervisor makes unwanted sexual advances), quid pro quo harassment (where benefits are given by employers in exchange for sexual favors) or a hostile work environment (in which an employer creates or allows to exist an overtly sexual or threatening environment in the workplace). Unlike harassment and stalking charges, which are reported to police, workplace harassment charges should be directed to the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- workplace image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com