Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes sexual harassment in the workplace illegal. This law applies to employers who have at least 15 workers. While many people in Illinois may acknowledge that sexual harassment is still a problem that must be addressed, there are some misconceptions about sexual harassment that deserve clarification.
First of all, it is not just women who can be sexually harassed. Men can also be victims of sexual harassment. Moreover, a woman can sexually harass a woman and a man can sexually harass a man. The perpetrator and the victim of the harassment need not be of the opposite sex.
Also, it is not just supervisors or a person in a position of power over the victim who can commit sexual harassment. A supervisor in another part of the workplace, a co-worker or even someone who is not an employee can all commit sexual harassment.
Moreover, the victim of sexual harassment can be any person in the workplace affected by it, even if the harassment was not directed at them. In addition, a person could be the victim of illegal sexual harassment, even if they are not ultimately fired or even if they do not suffer any sort of economic injury, such as being demoted or passed up for a promotion.
What is necessary is that the perpetrator's conduct is unwanted, and that it affects the victim's employment, interferes with the victim's performance at work or creates a hostile work environment. If a person believes they have been sexually harassed in the workplace, they should report it to the appropriate channels in their workplace. If that fails to resolve the issue, then they may file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for an investigation, and potential lawsuit.
No one deserves to be sexually harassed in the workplace. Those who want more information about what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace and what can be done about it may want to consult with an employment law attorney.