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EEOC Harassment Definition

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the U.S. government body that enforces the Civil Rights Act based on complaints and filed claims. We have summarized the EEOC definitions of harassment (sexual harassment, in particular) that it enforces:

  • Harassment based on sex (including pregnancy), among other protected traits, is illegal. Harassing a person “because he or she has complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit” is also illegal.
  • Harassment in “the form of slurs, graffiti, offensive or derogatory comments, or other verbal or physical conduct” is illegal. Sexual harassment, which includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature” is also unlawful.
  • The EEOC notes that “the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that are not very serious.” However, according to the EEOC, “Harassment is illegal if it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or if it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”

The takeaway and telling sign of pervasive sexual harassment is exactly when it is so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.

You do not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. For a free consultation about getting justice and compensation for the wrongs you have suffered, call Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, at (510) 433-1000.

EEOC On Sexual Harassment And Employment

The EEOC also states that sexual harassment includes submission to unwelcome sexual conduct of any kind (verbal or physical sexual advances, requests for sexual favor and other conduct of a sexual nature) that is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment. It is illegal and should be reported to a human resources department at the company or to the EEOC or local state agency such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Further, if such sexual conduct is used as a basis to make employment decisions affecting individuals, or if it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s job performance or creates a hostile or offensive work environment, it is sexual harassment and should be reported.

Contact A Sexual Harassment Attorney

If you have experienced sexual harassment on the job or in the hiring process, contact Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, to speak with an experienced California EEOC harassment attorney at (510) 433-1000 toll free.

Initial consultations at our law firm are free and confidential. We represent workers throughout Northern and Southern California on a contingency fee basis. Our lawyers pursue justice and all monetary damages our clients are entitled to.

**We do not represent perpetrators of sexual harassment or those who are accused of sexually harassing behavior.

If You Are Wronged, We Will Make It Right. Schedule A Free Confidential Consultation At Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, we empower our clients. We take on the largest law firms, toughest insurance defense lawyers and largest companies with confidence. * Bold text labels are required for submission | We practice in California only.

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