Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts define "sexual harassment" as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that:
• Explicitly or implicitly affects a term or condition of an individual's employment
• Unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance
• 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 or lewd remarks or sounds
• Visual, including unwelcome exposure to sexual photos, cartoons, or drawings
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Unwelcome behavior. Only sexual conduct that is unwelcome is unlawful. Generally, if a sexually related advance, request, verbal or physical conduct, or display of material is unsolicited or uninvited and was reasonably perceived as offensive when it occurred, the conduct may be considered unwelcome.
Unreasonable interference or hostile work environment. Factors used by the courts to determine whether unwelcome sexual conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance or created a hostile work environment include:
• Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating as opposed to a mere offensive utterance
• How frequently it was repeated
• Whether the conduct was hostile and patently offensive
• Whether the alleged harasser was a coworker or a supervisor
• Whether others joined in perpetrating the harassment
• Whether the harassment was directed at more than one individual
Severe or pervasive conduct. Generally, ...

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