What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is considered as a form of sex discrimination and when it occurs at any working place it is a violation of civil rights act of 1964 which is under Title VII. Most employers take advantage of their position and exploit sexual behaviors to their employees and when they refuse they’re fired or denied some employment benefits. EEOC defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual behavior, requests of sexual favors or any sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment is a very strong case, it’s an illegal act under both federal and Florida state laws, and it’s a violation of Florida civil rights act. Sexual harassment isn’t only related to females, even males can be victims of sexual harassment, and sometimes it can even be the same gender.
What Is Considered As Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can come in different forms; it depends on the people and the situation. Any unwelcomed sexual activity can be considered as sexual harassment. Giving bribes directly or indirectly for sexual activity can be considered as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be done verbally with suggestive jokes, brushing against another person or unwelcome touching; any attempt for sexual assault can also be regarded as sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Laws
Under title (VII) of civil rights act of 1964, the law protects individuals against any form of sex discrimination. No employer has the right to explore any unwanted sexual behavior with his or her employees, it is considered illegal for any employer to discriminate his employees when firing, hiring or denial of any other job benefits or opportunity because of their sex.
Types Of Sexual Harassment Claims
Quid Pro Quo
In this type of sexual harassment, the employer makes employment decisions based on an individual’s willingness to submit themselves to any form of sexual activity or harassment. Such employment decisions include; promotion, keeping your job contract, bonuses, assignments, and any other benefits.
Hostile Work Environment Claims
In this form of sexual harassment, the working place environment is intimidating, offensive or hostile.
Who Is Involved In Sexual Harassment?
- The victim can be a man or a woman.
- The harasser can be a woman or a man.
- The victim can be of the same sex.
- The harasser doesn’t necessarily have to be your boss or supervisor; it can be a co-worker or non-employee.
- The victim isn’t only the person that has been harassed, it involves anyone that has been affected by the misconduct.
- It is illegal for any employer to retaliate because an employee has reported misconduct.
Examples Of Sexual Harassment Behaviors
- Any unwanted physical contact is prohibited such as; touching, kissing, pinching, patting, fondling, grabbing or groping.
- Interfering, blocking or suppressing free movement in the working place.
- Repeated invitations for sexual favors after the person has refused; this could be by email, phone or face to face.
- Verbal sexual abuse.
- Use of graphic comments concerning the individual’s body.
- Creating inappropriate jokes, slurs, epithets, and comments.
- Giving more employment benefits to employees that have submitted themselves to employer’s sexual desires over an employee who denies such sexual favors.
Most sexual harassment in the working place is not reported because most of the time it involves employer and the victims are afraid to report because they think they might lose their job or are afraid of retaliation from their employer. Just because the harasser is in a powerful position it doesn’t mean you let them harass you. Employees are strongly protected from any sexual harassment behavior; each citizen should know their rights. The moment you notice any form of sexual harassment from your employer or co-worker, you should definitely give a warning, and if it’s done repeatedly there is a need to take action. You need to report to the proper authorities and also consult a good lawyer that has experience in dealing with sexual harassment cases. Gather all the necessary proofs and witnesses that might help you to defend your case.
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment you can contact Massey & Duffy for a free consultation, you’ll get free advice on how to deal with any harasser that’s disturbing you at your working place.