|According to the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination in the US that violates the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with at least 15 employees including the federal government, local and state governments.
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances or gestures.
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment occurs when a job benefit is made conditional upon giving in to unwelcome sexual advances. Here, the harassers by virtue of their superior position in the organizational hierarchy demand sexual favors in lieu of the job benefits they can confer on the victim like favorable grades, promotions, pay hikes etc.
In hostile environment sexual harassment, an employee in the workplace is subjected to sexual comments, unwelcome physical contact or offensive sexual materials.
Retaliation or negative action against the protestor of sexual harassment is as illegal as the action of sexual harassment itself. Even if the original charge of sexual harassment is not proven, retaliation is misconduct in law.
The victim may not be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victimís superior, colleague or even a customer or client. The aggrieved may not be target or the person harassed but could be any one affected by the offensive behavior.
Sexual harassment law on prohibition against sexual harassment is in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids gender based discrimination.
Legal recourses or options available to a victim of sexual harassment in the U.S include initiating an action with the EEOC or filing a claim under the Fair Employment Practices (FEP) statute of the concerned state or jurisdiction. The harasser may also institute sexual harassment lawsuits under the law of torts, which is a civil wrong actionable in damages.
Employers can be held legally responsible for sexual harassment against their workers and liable to them in damages. However, amount of compensation depends on the particular type of harassment.