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What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

When an employee makes a complaint about sexual harassment, the subject of whether the harassment is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 might come up. This act, which is often referred to as Title VII, contains certain protections for a specific group of workers. Understanding Title VII might help you to better understand the legal grounds for filing sexual harassment complaints.

Which employers are subject to Title VII?

Title VII is applicable to all employers who have at least 15 employees. This includes local and state governments, the federal government, labor organizations, and employment agencies.

Who can be a victim of sexual harassment?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Any employee who has to deal with unwanted sexual advances is being sexually harassed. Any employee who has to witness other employees being sexually harassed can also file a sexual harassment complaint. It doesn't matter what the employee's position is.

Who are the possible harassers?

The harasser can be a non-employee or an employee. This means that supervisors, contractors, customers and anyone else who sexually harasses a worker are all possible harassers.

How is sexual harassment differentiated from normal contact?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This can mean physical touching, but it can also mean sexual comments, sexual jokes, and anything else that has sexual undertones.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is very serious. This type of conduct can easily create a hostile work environment. No employee should have to deal with a hostile work environment because of sexual harassment. Employees have the right to make complaints about sexual harassment. Employers should respond promptly and effectively to those complaints.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," accessed Sep. 02, 2015

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