Sexual harassment is one of the most aggravating and annoying problems that any employee can face. Many workers, however, know very little about this important legal topic and how the law deals with this issue. The following article looks at sexual harassment in the workplace and gives employees crucial information they need to know.
Sexual harassment is usually separated into two main categories, with the first type being known as a quid pro quo. This type of harassment occurs when a person in the workplace is coerced into sexual activity in exchange for something of value, such as a promotion, or to avoid a negative consequence, such as being fired. This is the less common of the two types.
The most frequently seen type of sexual harassment in the workplace is known as creating a hostile environment. For example, if someone in an office is constantly making another employee uncomfortable with an unending series of unwanted sexual remarks or jokes, this could be considered sexual harassment under the law, as the harasser is making it difficult for the other employee to do their job. Repeated invitations to meet privately away from work could also be considered as sexual harassment, as long as the invitations are not desired by the other employee.
Federal and State
Both federal and state laws protect employees against sexual harassment, with the main federal law being Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Many states have Fair Employment Practice (FEP) laws that protect workers in that state. Some states, however, do not specifically protect workers from sexual harassment with their own statutes, so workers in those states must rely on federal laws.
If the harassment is serious enough and is not resolved after you have complained to your employer, the next step for an employee subjected to sexual harassment or to file a complaint with the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency. The agency will look into your complaint and try to resolve the issue. If the agency is unable to settle the issue to your satisfaction, they will send you a right-to-sue letter. You may only file a lawsuit after receiving this letter; otherwise, your case will be dismissed.
The law concerning sexual harassment in the workplace is quite complex, and a lawsuit of this type need to be handled by an experienced attorney. To learn more, consult a sexual harassment attorney in your area.
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