What constitutes as sexual harassment at work?

Every day, Rhode Island residents go to work to better their lives and earn money to support their families. Unfortunately, many workers get more than they bargained for in the form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment at work can constitute a number of behaviors, all of which make the victim feel violated and uncomfortable. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination in the workplace.

There are many forms of sexual harassment, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are unwanted by the recipient. Some common examples of harassment include requests for sexual favors, sexual jokes, sexual advances, both verbal or physical and other sexual behaviors that interfere with the employee's work life or environment. Any man or woman who is negatively affected by the harassment, whether it be the recipient or another party, may be considered a victim.

For victims of sexual harassment, the best thing to do is to first tell the harasser to stop their behavior. The victim should also file a complaint through the proper channels in their company. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for looking into these complaints and will consider the nature and circumstances of the harassment. If the allegations of harassment are found to be valid, the EEOC will take action to provide remedies to the victim.

Instead of focusing on producing quality work and earning a living wage, many people are forced to deal with the unwelcomed advances of co-workers and supervisors. Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law and can be dealt with by filing a complaint with the EEOC. If the EEOC does not find that the allegations are valid, the victim may still be able to file a lawsuit against the employer.

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," accessed on May 8, 2017

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