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Sex Harassment

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.

Sex harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is 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 being fired or demoted).

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.

An employer can be held liable for sexual harassment if the harassment was committed by a supervisor on a subordinate, or if committed by a co-worker and the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take steps to prevent and/or stop the harassment.

More Employment Law Topics

Employment at Will and Wrongful Termination

Employment Discrimination and Harassment

Employment Retaliation

Disability Discrimination

Sex Harassment

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Whistleblower Retaliation

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