Harassment can be based on gender, disability, race, national origin, sexual orientation, and other protected classifications. Harassment can be verbal (obscene language, demeaning comments, slurs or threats), physical (unwanted touching, physical interference with normal work or movement) or pictorial (posters, cartoons and pictures), and includes unwelcome sexual advances.
Both men and women can file claims for sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual
propositions, advances or solicitations, conditioning benefits or advancement upon acceptance of unwanted sexual advances or conduct, requests for sexual favors, and other unwanted verbal or physical conduct that is of a sexual nature.
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an employee is subject to unwanted harassing conduct because of his or her protected status, and the harassing conduct is so severe, widespread or persistent that a reasonable person would have considered the work environment to be hostile or abusive, and a supervisor with actual or perceived authority over the employee engaged in the conduct or knew, or
should have known, of the conduct and failed to take appropriate corrective action.
If an employer allows employees to create a hostile or offensive work environment, or does nothing when one employee makes unwelcome sexual overtures to another, this can also be considered sexual harassment.
When harassing behavior affects an employee’s job performance, there may be grounds for a harassment lawsuit.
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