Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment is illegal.
As defined by the United States‘ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.” Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Although laws surrounding sexual harassment exist, they generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents—that is, they do not impose a “general civility code” In the workplace, harassment may be considered illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim’s demotion, firing or quitting).
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer, and harassers or victims can be of any gender.
While, under the law, sexual harassment typically takes place in a workplace setting that is not necessarily always the case. Sexual harassment can take place outside of the confines of the workplace and in connection with someone who is seeking employment.
Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is perhaps the worst form of illegal employment discrimination, and is a form of abuse (sexual and psychological abuses) and bullying.
For many businesses or organizations, preventing sexual harassment, and defending employees from sexual harassment charges, have become key goals of legal decision-making.
Following recent allegations of sexual harassment, assault and abuse by numerous high-profile men across numerous industries, women across the globe have banded together under the #MeToo movement to give a strong voice against this conduct.
The Me Too movement (“#MeToo“), spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the public revelations of the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The Wall Street law firm of Maduegbuna Cooper LLP advises employees and employers on comprehensive resolutions to discrimination claims, including claims based on sexual harassment.
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