We hear about sexual harassment in the news, but you might be wondering how is sexual harassment defined? Is there a difference between federal law and Florida law?
Under federal law, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Under federal law, the harassment does not have to be sexual in nature and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. The American Association of University Women provides a comprehensive FAQ section on sexual harassment under Title VII that provides examples and explanations of different types of sexual harassment.
In Florida, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates The Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) of 1992. The FCRA makes it an unlawful employment practice to
discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,”
because of a person’s sex.
Many employee handbooks include the employer’s own definition or policy regarding harassment, including sexual harassment. For example, The Miami-Dade County Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices published a brochure available online regarding sexual harassment of county employees and defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and may consist of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct. Conduct may constitute sexual harassment when it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”
An attorney can help you determine whether you are experiencing sexual harassment at work and your rights under the law. Our attorneys can assist you at any stage, including pre-litigation. Please contact us to set up a confidential consultation.