Harassment in the workplace is prohibited by state and federal law if it is tied to some form of discrimination. Specifically, the Florida's Civil Rights Act and the Federal Civil Rights Act ("Title VII") prohibits harassment in the workplace if it is based on one's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, genetic information or retaliation. These laws require that the harassment be severe and pervasive, and not just based on an isolated incident. Petty slights and mere annoyances are generally insufficient to rise to the level of illegality.
What is considered unlawful is based on a reasonable person's standard. In other words, would a reasonable person consider the conduct intimidating, hostile or offensive. Conduct which may be considered offensive, include but is not limited to: Offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults, or threats, intimidation, ridicule, mockery, insults, offensive objects or pictures.
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Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civi Rights Act of 1964. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission' ("EEOC") provides guidelines on what Sexual Harassment is. According to the EEOC it is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or welcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. See http://www1.eeoc.gov//laws/types/sexual_harassment.
If you believe that you are being harassed based on your sex while at work, contact the Law Offices of Valerie Kiffin Lewis, P.A. for legal guidance concerning your potential claim.