Sexual harassment of an individual is prohibited by state and federal laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 establishes that employers may not discriminate on the basis of sex, and that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Any number of actions may constitute sexual harassment.
The federal agency charged with enforcing Title VII is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC defines sexual harassment as:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sex harassment when [a] submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of an individual’s employment, [b] submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions, and [c] such conduct unreasonably interferes with work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.*
* Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Part §1604.11 Washington, D.C. :Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
What are some examples of Sexual Harassment?
• Contact of a sexual nature including touching, hugging or brushing against a person’s body.
• Explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity.
• Comments of a sexual nature, including:
Remarks of a sexual nature regarding a person’s body or clothing.
Sexually explicit statements or questions.
Sexually explicit stories or jokes.
Remarks about sexual activity.
Whistling, ogling, or leering looks.
• Exposure to graffiti, pictures, posters of a sexual nature, or other similiar materials.
• Restriction of an individual’s movements through physical interference.
• Comments or actions based on gender.
What can you do about Sexual Harassment?
You have a right to a work environment that is free of bias, intimidation, or hostility. Sexual harassment is prohibited by state and federal laws. When you encounter sexual harassment you should:
• If possible, directly inform the harasser that his/her conduct is unwelcome and must stop. This response could prevent future harassment from the person, as they may not have realized his/her behavior was offensive.
• To file a complaint of sexual harassment, use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
• Document the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the incidents occurred. Keep track of dates, places, times, witnesses.
• If sexual harassment persists after reporting it to your employer, or is not dealt with to your satisfaction, contact an employment law attorney.
If you desire additional information regarding sexual harassment or discrimination, contact the Bertelson Law Office at +1 (612) 278-9832.
*THIS MATERIAL IS EDUCATIONAL ONLY. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AND SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE.
Bertelson Law Office – Union Plaza
333 Washington Ave. N. Suite 402 Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone +1 (612) 278-9832