Arkansas Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Arkansas Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on gender, including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (AR Code Sec. 16-123-101et seq.). The courts in Arkansas have ruled that the Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace (Island v. Buena Vista Resort, 352 Ark. 548 (2003)). However, because the Act does not expressly prohibit sexual harassment, the courts apply the analysis used by federal courts for harassment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).
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Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII. Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment can be:
• Physical, including unwelcome touching or gesturing
• Verbal, including unwelcome requests for a date or sexual favors, lewd remarks, or sounds
• Visual, including unwelcome exposure to sexual photos, cartoons, or drawings
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who did not use her employer's complaint procedure to report alleged harassment in the workplace could not establish whether her employer knew or should have known about the harassment (Anda v. Wickes Furniture Co., 517 F.3d 526 (8th Cir. 2008)). In this case, when the employee was hired, the employer gave her a copy of its policy against harassment, which included its procedure for reporting harassment. In her lawsuit, the employee claimed a coworker harassed her and her employer failed to take prompt, remedial action to end the harassment. However, in reviewing the ...

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