Sexual Harassment- Rights and Responsibilities

While some employers have sexual harassment policies and respond more diligently to sexual harassment , these disturbing events still regularly occur. Sexual harassment is a blatant violation of your rights as an employee, causing injury that permeates the entire workplace.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or an offensive work environment.

These actions can be instigated by any employee- male or female, and come from any level of employment within the company. An employee can also be sexually harassed by a non-employee or a visitor to the work place. For example, a client of the employer or those related to employees.

The first course of action against any incidence of sexual harassment is to report the incident a supervisor or to the human resources director at your workplace. It is up to the employer to respond to the situation, and to ensure that no future workplace harassment occurs.

If the harassment continues, or is extreme in nature such as physical acts or threats, the employe should contact the EEOC to evaluate your options to proceed with litigation. If the EEOC deems that your rights have been violated substantially enough to sue, you may proceed with a claim against the employer by filing a charge with the EEOC. Also, you may file a claim in New York State Court. You should first contact an attorney to explore your particular legal claims.