Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA), as well as the Florida State Civil Right laws.
The laws protect you from harassment including sexual harassment in the workplace. You should feel safe when at work. It is unlawful to harass an employee or an applicant because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. A harasser can be either a woman or man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.
Note, that the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious. However, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision such as firing, demotion or suspension.
The harasser can be the employee’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
What should you do if you are being harassed? An employee is encouraged to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. Employees should also report harassment to a supervisor, management or human resources at an early stage to prevent its escalation.
The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor’s harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that:
- it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and
- the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
If you believe you have been harassed or experienced a hostile work environment call today for a free case evaluation and consultation!
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