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What do you need to know about sexual harassment at work?

There are many things you should know about sexual harassment. As an employee, you have the right to work in an environment free of harassment; if you are harassed, you may be able to seek compensation for the suffering you've been put through in the past. Here are a few facts about sexual harassment, so you can understand your rights better.

What kinds of activities are considered to be sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be many things from offensive sexual jokes to touching someone inappropriately. Posting offensive materials on public boards at work can also be a kind of sexual harassment.

Are employees protected against harassment?

Absolutely. State and federal laws are in place to protect you from sexual harassment. These laws fall under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act makes up the base for any sexual harassment claim, but your state may also have additional laws and regulations that apply outside this federal law.

Are there different categories of sexual harassment?

There are two main forms. The first is quid pro quo, and the second is a hostile work environment. With the first kind, harassment takes place and is caused by a person who is of authority. That might be your boss or supervisor, for instance. There only needs to be one incident of harassment to seek a claim in that kind of suit.

For a hostile work environment, you'll need to show how frequently you were harassed, name the harasser, and define if the harassment was verbal or physical. Employers with 15 or more employees must abide by Title VII, while those with fewer must abide by state laws.

Source: FindLaw, "Sexual Harassment at Work," accessed March 02, 2016

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