Sexual Harassment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
March 16, 2010
In last week's blog, our Anaheim-based Employment and Labor Attorneys discussed sexual harassment in the workplace, and how sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination according to California and Federal laws.
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is against the law to discriminate against a person based on sex, race, religion, color and national origin with hiring, firing, promotions, training, harassment, benefits, or wage discussions. Title VII also prohibits discrimination against an individual employee based on an association with another employee or individual of a specific sex, race, religion, color or national origin.
Title VII also makes it illegal to retaliate against an individual because the employee complained about discrimination, filed a discrimination charge, or engaged in an investigation or lawsuit involving discrimination. Under Title VII, employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate an employee or applicant's religious beliefs that are sincerely held, unless it would create or impose any undue hardship on the business operations of the employer.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the federal laws that protect employees or job applicants from discrimination based on a person's race, religion, color, national origin, or sex, which includes pregnancy. Most employers with at least fifteen employees are covered by Title VII, as well as most labor unions and employment agencies. The EEOC may also step in and protect employees by investigating, mediating, and by filing lawsuits on behalf of the victims.
According to the EEOC, sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, sexual favor requests, or other verbal or physical harassment with sexual overtones. It is also illegal to harass a female or male employee by making offensive comments about women or men in general terms. In all sexual harassment cases the victim of sexual harassment can be either a man or a woman, the harasser can be a man or a woman, and the victim and the harasser can both be the same sex. Often times employees are harassed by a direct supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a co-worker, or an outside client or customer.
The EEOC reports that simple teasing in the workplace, subtle comments, or isolated incidents that are not considered serious are not against the law. Harassment is considered to be unlawful when it is so severe and pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or when it creates an adverse employment decision like firing or facing a demotion.
Howard Law, PC protects worker's rights in sexual harassment cases and other labor and employment issues in Los Angeles County, Orange County and throughout Southern California. Contact our Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys today, to find the best solution for you.
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