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Sexual Harassment is Against the Law

Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oregon LSC Funded
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Sexual Harassment is Against the Law

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful employment discrimination. It exists when an employee is subjected to inappropriate sexual words or conduct by another employee, supervisor or company owner. The words or conduct must be severe and offend the employee or create a hostile or intimidating work environment.

Sexual harassment can occur in different circumstances. For example, has someone:

  • insisted that you go out to dinner or for a ride?
  • asked for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or salary increase?
  • inappropriately touched your breasts, hips or other body parts?
  • told you that you are very attractive, have a great body and/or told you s/he would like spend the night with you?
  • referred to you or other employees as "honey", "baby", or "beautiful"?
  • commented, flirted, or whistled in a way that makes you uncomfortable?

What can you do if you are a victim of sexual harassment?

  1. Tell the person who is harassing you that his/her conduct is not appropriate and that it has to stop immediately.
  2. Report the incident to your supervisor or someone with authority in the company.
  3. Follow the company's complaint policy, if there is one. If not, do a written report explaining what happened, including the name of the person harassing you. Keep a copy of that report.
  4. If the person harassing you continues to do so after reporting him/her or you feel intimidated about doing a report for the company, you can call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 1-800-669-4000.

You must report the sexual harassment immediately. All legal claims have a limited period of time in which to be filed. If you complain to your employer, s/he cannot retaliate against you. It is against the law to retaliate against a person for making a discrimination complaint.

6/2011

Last Review and Update: Jun 16, 2011