Sexual Harassment Overview
Sexual harassment is technically considered a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC generally defines the offense as "unwelcome sexual advances" or similar actions that create an intimidating or hostile workplace. For instance, it is at the very least inappropriate to tell a coworker how "sexy" they look or to tell sexually explicit jokes. When it creates a negative environment, it may be grounds for a lawsuit.
If someone in a position of authority requests sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or job security, then it is considered "quid pro quo" sexual harassment.
The act of employment discrimination can take many forms. Generally, it occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly because of their race, gender, nationality, religion, age, disability, or familial status (pregnancy, specifically). An individual who possesses one of these characteristics (a paralyzed veteran, for example) is said to be part of a "protected class." Discrimination can occur even if the employee is merely perceived to be a part of a protected class.
An act of discrimination may occur in relation to one of the following actions:
Despite the gains gays and lesbians have made with respect to marriage equality, LGBT individuals are not a protected class. This means it is perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBT job seekers and employees in states that don't offer statutory protections. The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but has been held up in Congress.
Roughly 20 states do prohibit LGBT discrimination in the workplace, including California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.
Contact an employment attorney if you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace.
A focused look at the rights the ADA provides employees with disabilities, the kinds of discrimination these employes may face, and what to do when discrimination occurs.
This page has some useful information and links to resources and statutes on disability discrimination so that you can learn all about disability discrimination at work and the protections available for disabled workers.
A number of federal, state, and local laws forbid discrimination against individuals or classes of persons based on factors such as race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, and disability. Learn how these apply to education and employment opportunities. ...
Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Age Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or an employee less favorably because of his or her age. Under federal law, age discrimination is forbidden against those who are age 40 or o...
Read this article for a summary of the primary federal law against age discrimination in the workplace, including how age discrimination looks in the office, as well as basic information on claims.
Read the text of the federal law known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, which protects employees who are 40 years of age or older from workplace bias.
Click here for a breakdown of the federal anti-bias law known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), including prohibited behaviors, its coverage and application, exceptions, and other important issues.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the text of Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-336) (ADA), as amended, as these titles appear in volume 42 of the United States Code, beginning at section 12101. Title I of the A...
Some employers try to enforce English-only rules preventing their employees from speaking any other languages besides English while at work. ...
Under federal law, older workers are protected from discrimination and entitled to the same benefits as younger workers. ...