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Understanding Federal Sexual Harassment -- Title VII

Posted by attorney John Mixon

Sexual harassment, like other forms of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, national origin, age, or disability, is barred by a federal law called Title VII. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

Examples of sexual harassment include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. See the EEOC website for more details.

The first step is to determine the type of harassment. Federal law recognizes two basic types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo.

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