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Sexual Harassment Training Basics - Learn More from Clear Law

Whether you are a victim of harassment on the job or you are simply looking for information to help you protect yourself, you have come to the right place. This article explains the different types of abuse, the legal issues surrounding them, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Origins of the term

Traditionally, harassment on the job has targeted women. However, it can also be directed towards men. In any case, it is unlawful in modern settings.

Initially, sexual abuse was thought to be nothing more than a private interpersonal problem. You can learn more about the history and acceptance of the term as well as implications in a business setting. It wasn't until the mid-1970s that the term "harassment" was coined.

In the 1970s, the feminist movement brought a new focus to the issue of sexual abuse on the job. Many women sought equality at work, and demanded an end to discriminatory seniority rules. Some also demanded equal pay.

A group of women at Cornell University conceived the idea for a term to describe harassment at the workplace. It was the "quid pro quo" - in Latin, a quid means "this for that." It refers to a situation where a person in power demands a sexual favor from a worker.

State laws

Various state laws protect employees from sexual abuse on the job. Some of these laws are state specific and others are federal. Depending on the state, there may be additional or stricter requirements than the federal law.

State laws on harassment on the job require employers to provide employees with information about the law and how to report or prevent misconduct. If an employee believes that he or she is the victim of sexual abuse, they can file a complaint with the employer or the EEOC. The EEOC may send the employee a "right-to-sue" notice (www.hg.org/legal-articles/eeoc-right-to-sue) which allows the employee to file a private lawsuit in court.

Some states require training for employees, while others encourage it. Some states have a specific schedule for training, while others allow employees to complete the course in segments. 

The training must be in the employee's primary language. The information must cover the responsibilities of the victim and the perpetrator, as well as measures to take immediate corrective action.

Quid pro quo harassment

Quite simply, quid pro quo sexual abuse is when a person in a position of power offers a job candidate or employee a favorable assignment in return for a sexual favor. This could involve a raise, a promotion, better work hours, or a transfer to another location.

To prove that you have been victimized by quid pro quo harassment on the job, you must demonstrate that you are the target of this type of conduct, and that the person you are accusing of this behavior has authority over you. You must also show that the person who is harassing you has the authority to make important employment decisions.

In addition to being the law's most common retaliatory action, a quid pro quo sexual abuse claim can be accompanied by other forms of harassment, like bad assignments, demotions, and negative performance reviews.

 

Retaliation

Fortunately, retaliation for sexual abuse on the job is illegal. This means that any employee who opposes discrimination can file a complaint for retaliation.

Retaliation can take several forms, including disciplinary actions, poor performance reviews, and firing. It can also be subtle. It could be micromanagement, leaving you out of a work activity, or denying your ongoing training.

If you suspect retaliation, you should talk to your supervisor and human resources department. Keep a record of how your harasser's behavior affected your job performance. You should also make note of your emotional and physical reactions to the harassment.

If you are retaliated against, you can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency has the power to investigate any allegations of retaliation. If you are successful in filing a complaint, you may be able to receive damages.

Legal recourse

Whether your employer is guilty of sexual abuse on the job, or you have been the victim of it yourself, you have rights. In some cases, you may be able to receive compensation for your loss of wages, out-of-pocket expenses, or even punitive damages.

Harassment is when someone makes unwanted comments or actions based on your gender. The person may be a co-worker, supervisor, or agent of your employer.

Depending on the state, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. You can also report discrimination to your union. Your union can investigate your case on your behalf. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can also be a good resource.

The first step in filing a legal complaint is to file a formal complaint in writing. This will give you proof of your claim and also validate anything you say within the claim, which may come under fire from investigators in some situations.

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