Generally speaking, sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as any conduct of a sexual nature that creates an uncomfortable or hostile environment. Examples of this type of harassment include requests for sexual favors, comments about a person’s body or the viewing of pornography at work. Those who work for companies that have 15 or more employees are protected at the federal level by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. California law may also protect workers from being harassed while on the job.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can still occur even if victims aren’t terminated or financially harmed in any way. Furthermore, individuals of either gender can engage in offensive activities, and it is possible for a perpetrator to be the same gender as his or her victim. It is important to point out that sexual harassment can involve clients or other parties who are affiliated with a company.
If a person alleges that he or she was sexually harassed by a client, agent or other outside party, the employer would need to prove that it wasn’t aware of that party’s actions. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has ruled that teachers, professors or other authority figures within an educational system can be held responsible for engaging in acts of sexual harassment against their students.
Individuals who believe that they were victims of sexual harassment might want to file a Title VII lawsuit. An employment law attorney may be able to help an individual file the lawsuit or take steps to resolve the matter without going to court. In some cases, it may be possible for a victim to obtain compensation or other relief through a settlement. Plaintiffs may use copies of text messages, their personnel files or other evidence to show that they were victims of unwanted harassment.