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The many degrees of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal because of the Civil Rights Act that was passed back in 1964. Despite this, it still persists each and every year.

In fact, it sometimes goes unreported simply because people don't know exactly what they should be looking for. It's very important for employees to know what violates the Act and what they can do about it. Below are a few examples of sexual harassment, some more obvious than others:

- Sexual advances from a coworker or boss that are unwanted- Requests, especially from a supervisor, for various sexual favors- Sexual jokes and comments, even without physical contact- Any type of unwanted sexual contact- Sexual advances or conduct that make a workplace unsafe or hostile- The exposure of sexually explicit pictures or other materials- Demotion or termination based on a rejection of any sexual advancements or requests- And much more

As noted, some of these things are very clearly harassment, such as physical sexual contact that is inappropriate and unwanted. However, other things can fall into more of a gray area, such as sexual jokes that may be made at someone's expense. Employees may be offended, but they may not know if an offhand comment or a joke is enough for them to take action in Florida.

Employees need to know that things like this can also constitute harassment, even if the other employees or supervisors claim the comments and jokes were made innocently, and there are legal steps that they can take if they feel they are being harassed.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," accessed May. 15, 2015

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