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Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Many people have heard about sexual harassment in the workplace, but not as many people understand what sexual harassment can entail. Many people operate under the misconception that sexual harassment can only occur between a man and a woman, with the man being the one who is sexually harassing the woman. But sexual harassment is more than that: it is any sexual harassment made by any person against another person. A woman could harass a man, a man could harass another man, or a woman could harass another woman.

Harassment based on sex is not limited to only situations involving parties of the opposite sex. Sexual harassment can occur between two people of the same sex. Same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment, in the workplace is prohibited, regardless of the respective sexes of the harasser and the victim.

Employers Are Responsible for Workplace Sexual Harassment

When sexual harassment is conducted by an owner, supervisor, manager, or worker, the harasser’s employer is responsible for the sexual harassment actions of its employees. When the harassment is committed by an employee with higher rank than the victim, such as an owner supervisor, or manager, it does not matter who had knowledge of the harassment; the employee can still be held responsible. When the harassment is committed by a coworker of the victim, the victim must notify a supervisor, and then the supervisor must take prompt and immediate action to correct the issue.

Sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be sexual in nature. Examples of sexual harassment that is of a sexual nature would include inappropriate or sexual touching, or sexual jokes or comments. But harassment that is based on a person’s sex is enough to constitute sexual harassment as well. This could include derisive or derogatory comments about a particular sex made by a manager to an employee. If the employee is of the sex that is mentioned in the manager’s comment, and if the employee is offended by the manager’s comment, then sexual harassment has likely occurred.

Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Or Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII, while sexual orientation discrimination is not actionable under federal law. However, discrimination based on sexual orientation is actionable under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

There is a difference between same-sex sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination. Same-sex sexual harassment can include any unwanted touching, sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, sexual jokes or comments, etc. that is conducted between two people of the same sex. Discrimination based on sexual orientation between two people of the same sex would be one person discriminating against another person of the same sex because of their sexual orientation. It is important to know the difference, so that you can pursue the correct legal claim.

Call Now For A Free Initial Consultation

It does not matter if your harasser is your supervisor, coworker or even a client or customer, if they are sexually harassing you then it is actionable under the law, regardless of your sex, or the sex of your harasser.

Same-sex sexual harassment is just as serious as sexual harassment that occurs between people of the opposite sex. The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline knows your rights when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. We have helped countless victims of sexual harassment bring legal action against their employers. Contact our Chicago, Illinois sexual harassment attorneys today for a free consultation regarding your situation.

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