Sexual harassment in the workplace can come in many different forms. Here are seven things you should know about sexual harassment, how you can spot it at work, and what to do if you or someone you know are experiencing it.
- Sexual harassment in the workplace is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Sexual harassment is a form of Sex Discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace.
- Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace can sue for money damages in state and federal courts. If you can prove your claim, you can recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress and punitive damages.
- Failing to report sexual harassment in the workplace to your boss doesn’t prevent you from filing a lawsuit in court.
- You have one year from the date of the harassment to file a lawsuit.
- You can have a claim for sexual harassment based on offensive sexual comments made in the workplace if they create a hostile environment at your workplace.
- The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages.
- The federal courts did not recognize sexual harassment in the workplace as a form of sex discrimination until the 1970s. The problem originally was perceived as isolated incidents of flirtation in the workplace. Employers are now aware that they can be sued by the victims of workplace sexual harassment. The accusations of sexual harassment made by Professor Anita Hill against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his 1991 confirmation hearings also raised societal consciousness about this issue.