John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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What sexual harassment looks like

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, enforces the prohibitions against certain acts in the workplace. For employees in Minnesota and all other sates in the nation, this means being protected from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Despite federal and state rules and regulations, various forms of discrimination and harassment still occur in the work environment.

Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination, and when it occurs in the workplace the harasser is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees, which includes state and local governments, employment agencies, labor organizations and the federal government.

In order to determine whether an individual is a victim of sexual harassment, it should be understood what sexual harassment can look like. While this includes the obvious offensive conduct such as unwanted touching and sexual advances, sexual harassment can actually occur in a variety of circumstances that might not be so obvious.

Sexual harassment can occur for both men and women, and the victim of harassment does not need to be the opposite sex of the harasser. The harasser could be the supervisor of the victim, an agent of the victim's employer, a supervisor in a different area of employment, a co-worker and even a non-employee. Additionally, the victim does not have to be the individual being harassed because anyone could be affected by sexual harassment occurring in the workplace regardless of where the harassment is being directed.

While this list is not exhaustive of all the forms sexual harassment can take, it does illustrate that it can take various forms and be involved in numerous situations. Employees who believe that they are the victim of sexual harassment should take measures to understand the situation better. Filing a complaint could help alleviate the situation and help the victim of sexual harassment recover damages caused by the incident.

Source: Eeoc.gov, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," accessed Oct. 12, 2015

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