The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature…when… submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions… or such conduct has the purpose or effect of… creating intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment."
Sexual harassment is far broader than threats of discharge for rejecting sexual advances. Other circumstances of sexual harassment include:
Repeated sexual innuendo, obscene or off-color jokes, slurs, lewd remarks and language
Content in letters and notes, faxes, e-mail, and graffiti that is of a sexual nature or sexually abusive
Sexual propositions, insults, and threats
Sexually-oriented demeaning names
Persistent unwanted sexual or romantic overtures or attention
Leering, whistling, or other sexually suggestive sounds or gestures
Displaying pornographic pictures, calendars, cartoons, or other sexual material in the workplace
Coerced or unwelcome touching, patting, brushing up against, pinching, kissing, stroking, massaging, squeezing, fondling, or tickling
Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors
Coerced sexual intercourse
Sexual harassment statutes are in effect in various forms in all states and are generally modeled on the federal law (Title VII). What principally differ from state-to-state are the remedies and damages given in successful sexual harassment claims. Some states allow money damages for personal injuries while others also allow punitive damages to be rewarded.
If you were sexually harassed, we can assist you in evaluating your case.
Thank you for considering The Lovitz Law Firm. If we can be of assistance to you, please contact us for a consultation.