Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Unwanted sexual attention can occur in the workplace as well as in a school environment and can affect people of any age, sex, or race.
Sexual conduct must be unwelcome in nature to qualify as harassment. Unwelcome means that the person does not request or invite the conduct and views it as offensive or undesirable. Even if a person does not immediately bring up their concerns, it can still be unwanted.
Students and employees should not have to deal with harassment and it should be reported immediately if it occurs. Once a school official is made aware of possible harassment, he or she has an obligation to report it to the police, or at the very least, keep a record of it in case of a repeat offense. Documentation of when and where an alleged harassment took place can help the Office of Civil Rights conduct a thorough investigation.
The best way to eliminate sexual harassment is to have a procedure in place that encourages prevention. Employers should communicate to employees that harassment will not be tolerated and establish a complaint process that leads to immediate action when a grievance is reported.
CSULB Office of Equity and Diversity. (2005). Harassment Retrieved from http://www.csulb.edu/depts/oed/policies/harassment.html
Office of Civil Rights. (2008). Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Academic! Retrieved from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2002). Facts About Sexual Harassment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html