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What does sexual harassment in the workplace look like?

We would like to think that all people in the workplace are respectful of one another, regardless of their gender. However, the unfortunate fact is that sometimes sexual harassment takes place in the workplace. It is important for workers in Pasadena to understand some basic facts about sexual harassment, so they can respond appropriately should they be the victim of it.

First, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, as it is considered a type of sex discrimination. However, only employers with 15 or more workers are subject to the Act. The Act covers private and public employees.

Any unwanted verbal or physical conduct concerning sex may be considered harassment if the act unreasonably interferes with the victim’s employment, performance on-the-job or if it creates a hostile work environment. Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment, and harassment can occur between workers of the same sex. A harasser can be a co-worker, a supervisor (even if that individual does not directly supervise the victim) or even a non-employee. Victims of sexual harassment include anyone who is affected by the sexual acts, even if the acts were not directed at them. A person need not suffer financially or be fired to be the victim of sexual harassment, but the harasser’s actions must be unwanted.

If a person believes they are the victim of sexual harassment, they should first follow their employer’s protocol for addressing such situations. If that fails to resolve the situation, the victim may want to report the situation to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for an investigation. The EEOC will issue a determination on the allegations.

People may fear losing their jobs if they report sexual harassment, but it is unlawful for employers to retaliate in such a manner. No one should have to suffer sexual harassment in the workplace. If it does occur, it is good to have a basic understanding of how to proceed to reach a satisfactory resolution to the situation.

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