How To Fight Sexual Harassment at Work
In legal terms, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. In real life, workplace sexual harassment ranges from repeated offensive or belittling jokes to a workplace full of offensive pornography (creating a hostile work environment) to an outright sexual assault. Although sexual harassment most often takes the form of men harassing women, it can happen to men and women, gay and straight — in other words, sexual harassment is an equal opportunity offense.
Fortunately, state and federal laws protect workers from sexual harassment on the job — the same laws that protect workers from discrimination based on gender. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids harassment. In addition, most states have their own fair employment practices laws that prohibit sexual harassment, many of them more strict than the federal law.