Fighting Sexual Harassment

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What is the legal definetion of sexual harassment? The EEOC has defined sexual harassment in its guidelines as the unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Under what type of circumstances do sexual harassment occur? The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

What are the Legally Recognized Types of Sexual Harassment? There are two types of sexual harassment that are legally recognized. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee gets on the promotion track or even gets to keep his/her job is based on if the employee submitted to or rejected sexual advances or other types of inappropriate sexual comments.This type of sexual harassment occurs when a co-worker or supervisor in the workplace makes sexual advances or comments to an employee that, while not affecting promotions or the future of the employee’s job, makes the working environment of the employee offensive and hostile.

What are my rights if I am sexually harassed? Tell the offender you find their conduct offensive. Inform your employer that you are being sexually harassed and follow the company policy on sexual harassment. Also, you may want to seek the advice of attorney. If your employer fails to take the proper corrective action you must file a complaint with the Equal Employrment Commission (EEOC). A EEOC complaint must be filed before you can file a law suit.

How is a hostile work environment defined? It occurs when unwelcome conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

When should you report sexual harassment? If the conduct is severe enough that it occurred only once, may warrant reporting. If the conduct is less severe, but occurred over an extended period of time, that too may be sufficient. However, you should always inform the harasser the you find the conduct offensive.

How can a victim be harassed at work by a non-employee? Employers may be responsible for the sexual harassment of a non-employee if the employer or supervisor knew or should have known of the harassment, failed to take immediate and appropriate action, and had some degree of control over the non-employee.

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