What is Sexual Harassment?
There are many causes of sexual discrimination. This includes the social construction of gender, age, nationality, and race. Sexual prejudice is bias or discrimination towards one’s own sex. Sexism is often associated with age, but it can also be associated with ethnicity and other classifications. It has always been linked with biological gender roles and stereotypes, and can even include the false notion that one sex is inherently superior to the other. The concept of sexual prejudice is a broad one, and it is important to understand all forms of sexual prejudice so that we do not end up targeting one group over another.
Some of the most common examples of sexual discrimination
fall under federal and state law. In instances involving employment, there are two types of sexual harassment that fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The first type of sexual harassment is quid pro quo harassment, which is when an employer invites someone into a work situation with the express or implied promise of a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment is commonly addressed by the common rule that sex is a private property right, meaning that employees can be sexually harassed based upon their gender regardless of whether they have gone through sex-specific employment processes or conditions.
Another form of sexual harassment in the workplace
is the hostile work environment. Under this provision, an employer can be held liable for creating a work environment where an employee is intimidated, harassed, or made to feel uncomfortable due to their gender. The United States Department of Labor has put forth numerous guidelines and examples to aid employers in addressing claims of sexual discrimination, including:
In addition to having a sexual orientation
color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, or disability, employees must also have another protected class. Although all employees are protected against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin under the law, employees are not protected against disability discrimination. This means that employers may not refuse to hire or promote, or offer any other employment benefits or opportunities to employees because of their disabilities. Similarly, employers may not use stereotypes, statements, or jokes that could reasonably be expected to demean a person because of their disability. In addition, if an employee has been the victim of harassment based on his or her disability, the victim may recover damages even if the perpetrator was not aware that his action was unlawful.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
has defined six different categories of discrimination, including race discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination, national origin discrimination, age discrimination, and any other type of discrimination. An employer cannot be held responsible for acting in a way that invades one of these categories. For an employee to file a charge of discrimination, he must be subject to the complaint. If the EEOC determines that the employer’s actions constitute discrimination, the employer must be served with notice of the complaint. If the employer does not respond or does so after the complaint has been filed, then the plaintiff may be able to move forward with filing a lawsuit.
Similarly, employers cannot be held liable for treating someone unfairly
if they fail to perform tasks required of them based on their disability, or if they fail to provide someone with equal employment opportunities. For example, if an African-American employee is hired as a part-time nanny, and he is expected to perform the same tasks as someone who has been hired to perform full-time hours, the claim would likely fail. Similarly, if the employer fails to make someone working as a nanny eligible for training or vacation leave accommodations, this could also constitute discrimination.