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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace As more and more women have entered the workforce in the last several decades there has been a heightened awareness of the problem of sexual harassment The recent spate of successful employee litigation in this area combined with tan extension of an employers liability for acts of its supervisors and often its rank-and-file employees has created an area of serious concern to employers This is particularly so given the heightened awareness to the issue inherent in the US Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Justice Clarence Thomas It is important for supervisor and manager to be familiar with the laws of sexual harassment Their knowledge and actions will not only legally bind the company but may also make themselves personally liable for violation the law Governing bodies The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC which enforces federal prohibition against sexual harassment defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature The California Fair Employment and Housing Commission FEHC which enforces state law further defines sexual harassment to include Verbal harassment such as epithets derogatory comments or slurs Physical harassment such as assault or physical interference with movement or work and Visual harassment such as derogatory cartoons drawings or posters Two General Categories of Sexual Harassment Over the years the courts have separated sexual harassment into tow main categories 1 Quid pro quo occurs when a supervisor or manager conditions an employment benefit or continuing employment on the employees acquiescence in the form of sexual behavior 2 Hostile or offensive work environment sexual harassment No employment benefits need be lost or gained and this type of harassment may be engaged in not only by management but also by coworkers or persons who are not even employed by the employer An offensive work environment occurs where sexual jokes suggestive remarks cartoons physical interference with movement such as blocking or
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