Some important facts about sexual harassment

Understanding what sexual harassment is and some important facts about it can be helpful for victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and violates Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title 7 applies to employers with 15 or more employees; state and local governments; the federal government; and a few others.

Sexually harassing activity can include unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature and occurs under certain circumstances. Such behaviors can constitute sexual harassment when the conduct impacts the individual's employment, either explicitly or implicitly; unreasonably interferes with the work performance of the individual; or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.

In addition, understanding some facts about the nature of sexual harassment can be helpful to preventing and eliminating it. Victims and harassers can be either men or women and the victim and the harasser may be of the same sex; the harasser can fall into a number of categories, including the victim's supervisor, a co-worker, a non-employee or others; the victim does not necessarily have to be the individual being harassed but can be anyone impacted by the harassment; unlawful sexual harassment can take place without economic injury or termination of the victim; and the conduct of the harasser must be unwelcome.

Sexual harassment should not be tolerated by employers or employees and resources are available to help protect victims concerning the impact the sexual harassment has had on them. Victims of sexual harassment can find themselves in a variety of different situations which is why it is important they are familiar with the protections available to them when suffering the unwanted impact of sexual harassment.

Source: U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," Accessed Sept. 12, 2017

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