Hostile Work Environment Law & Related Topics

Getting To Know The Sexual Harassment Laws

The sexual harassment laws are an individuals protection from unwelcome sexual advances which may be verbal or physical in nature (that if rejected may be the reason for ones dismissal from employment or could affect work performance). The law is against any form of sexual harassment that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The law considers certain personal conduct that is unwelcome to be sexual harassment. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The definition of the victim is not simply limited to the one harassed but to anyone who may be affected by the unwelcome conduct. This means that anybody, even those who were not the target of the workplace sexual harassment, may file a complaint.

One can make a quid pro quo harassment claim for the kind of harassment that forces a victim to agree to sexual acts in exchange for employment benefits or keeping a job. Even a single instance of this could be established as quid pro quo harassment. However, the law also requires a strong basis of proof in terms of sexual harassment incidents that can be used by the complainant to support his claim that a series of harassing acts led to the establishment of a hostile work environment.

Individuals who may have experienced sexual, or other harassment (because of color, sex, religion, age) when undergoing an employment application or when handling a particular job may file a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC). The complaint may be lodged by mail or by phone. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides a provision allowing complainants to file charges within 180 days of the alleged conduct. There may be areas or states which have an agency authorized to grant a relief, in such a case complainants must file the charge 30 days after the local agency sent a notice of processing termination of such charge. The law encourages individuals to immediately contact the authorized agency as complaints lodged beyond the timeframe may be denied in court.

The federal law along with state law is strictly followed by employers in providing protection to their employees. The different states either comply with the federal law or provide a similar and more specialized law that covers the citizens in that particular locale.

In Alabama, for example, employees have the ability to sue employers for sexual harassment for a mere invasion of the individuals right to privacy. Colorado follows an Anti Discrimination Act that also provides protection from sexual harassment. Hawaii obligates employers to take the issue of sexual harassment as an important concern and they are also required to take measures to prevent sexual harassment from happening. The state of Idaho provides a regular publication about sexual harassment on the job through its Human Rights Commission. Other states show the same level of compliance and support for the legislated federal law on anti-discrimination.

This shows that sexual harassment is widely condemned in all parts of the world as it violates the ultimate essence of none-discrimination.

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