Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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The Los Angeles Times recently ran survey results that found that four out of five teenagers suffer sex harassment at school. One in ten students said that he/she had been forced to commit a sexual act during school hours. The surveyors state that the findings provide evidence that sexual harassment in schools has reached “epidemic” proportions.

Employment training programs now ten years after the sexual harassment prohibition and the well-publicized Thomas hearings begin with myths and facts about sexual harassment or pre-tests on knowledge of the prohibitions against the activity. These tests still come up with “true” for the answers to myths like, “Women working in a predominantly male job should expect to live with rough language and dirty jokes” or “Only certain kinds of men harass women workers.”

Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and in the employment context Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended in 1991.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment or education, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The victim could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. ...

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...vention and claims defense. A program to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace is not only required by law, but it is the most practical way to avoid or limit damages if harassment should occur despite all preventative efforts. Unfortunately, “Boys will” still “be boys” and ”girls too.


King & Barlow, Sexual Harassment: When a Quick Response May Not Be Prevention Enough, 1999

Brower & Associates, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, 1999

Parham & Rajcic, Sex and Power in the Schools, 1996

Liebert, Cassidy & Frierson, Finding the Facts: Harassment Investigations

School Policy Legal Insider, April 1999

Equal Opportunity Commission: Policy Guidance on Sexual Harassment, 1990

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