The topic of "sexual harassment" has become fashionable in the US since a host of complaints against famous personalities from the business and political worlds came to light. For the benefit of Hispanics of both sexes, who tend to be very liberal in interpersonal relationships, these lines are dedicated.
What is “sexual harassment”?
Sexual harassment is a form of harassment of a worker by a supervisor, a co-worker or, in some cases, a third party linked to the employer such as an agent, consultant or client. In any case, if the employer is aware of the transgression and does not act accordingly, he will become an accomplice in the situation.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Its compliance is made explicit or implicit in terms or as a condition to obtain employment.
- Its compliance or the refusal of its compliance by an individual is the basis for making decisions affecting that individual's employment, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work efficiency, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or unpleasant work environment.
Federal law does not prohibit candid teasing, indirect comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. The conduct must be frequent or severe enough to create a hostile work environment or result in a "tangible employment action," such as hiring, firing, promotion, or demotion.
Legal rules governing sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment constitutes a civil rights violation categorized as sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that applies to all US employers with 15 or more workers. Similarly, in 1972 the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that teachers, professors and other persons in authority within school systems could sexually harass students in violation of the law. Finally, Title 10 of the US Code of Law establishes the rules for dealing with cases of sexual harassment in the military sphere.
What is the legal action to follow in cases of sexual harassment?
If deemed prudent, the victim may require the offender to cease their inappropriate behavior.
If they do not want to confront the harasser, or the harasser does not stop their abusive behavior, the victim should take the following steps:
- Check to see if your employer has an established anti-harassment policy.
- If there is a policy, follow the options for reporting harassment.
- If there isn't a policy, talk to a supervisor and ask for that person's help to stop the abusive behavior.
- The law protects the whistleblower from retaliation by the employer. The offended person has the option of consulting her case confidentially or filing a complaint with the EEOC.
- In case of initiating a lawsuit before the courts, it is mandatory that the plaintiff substantiate the libel with solid arguments that show that there really are conditions typified as sexual harassment against the victim. These elements are:
- Frequency of the defendant's alleged inappropriate behavior.
- Severity of the offender's behavior.
- Victim's conduct.
- Context of the alleged harassment.
- If the harasser is a supervisor or a co-worker.
- Size and nature of the employer's business.
- Clarify that the victim never engaged in sexual jokes or off-color jokes with the defendant.
- Indicate if the superior cadres of the employer were aware of the violation.
The opinions of the courts on sexual harassment are not usually homogeneous, but to the extent that strong evidence is provided and the appropriate witnesses are summoned, the greater the chances of success for the plaintiff.
Is sexual harassment only attributable to men?
Of course not. There is case law from the courts in which it has been ruled that a man can be harassed by a woman and, even more so, that sexual harassment can occur between people of the same sex.
We have seen here what sexual harassment means and ways to combat it in our work, academic or military environment. With these lines we intend to call the attention not only of the victims but of the people who in good faith could transgress the rules that govern this sensitive matter.
And it is that Hispanic Americans have a different culture from that of the Anglo-Saxons and the rest of the world. The Hispanic is usually complimenting, flattering, affectionate and express his feelings of friendship or admiration towards our fellow men with kisses and hugs.
What is considered a routine gesture or expression of affection in Latin America may constitute abusive sexual conduct in the US. That is why it is very important that in any intimate relationship that arises between two individuals who share the work environment, consensuality prevails.
In recent years, the issue of sexual harassment has been uncovered vigorously. Victims are now denouncing the transgressions more frequently and awareness is being created in the authorities and in society in general so as not to label the victims with shameful adjectives.
And to close these notes I remind readers that, when it comes to sexual harassment, it is always better to be safe than sorry...