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Same-Sex Harassment And Sexual Harassment Without The Motivation Of “Sexual Desire”

Updated: Mar 25


Office Mean Girls Bullying In The Workplace Harassment
Same Sex Harassment Doesn't Have To Be Sexual To Be Illegal




About four in ten working women (42%) in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex.  The U.S. Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even if perpetrated by someone of the same sex.  In one landmark case, Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, a male oil rig worker, who claimed repeated sexual harassment by his male co-workers with the acquiescence of his employer, was found to be protected under Title VII.




Oncale set a precedent for analyzing same-sex harassment and sexual harassment without the motivation of “sexual desire” by stating that any discrimination based on sex is actionable if it places the victim in an objectively disadvantageous working condition, regardless of the gender of the victim or the harasser.  https://www.burnhamdouglass.com/blog-news/2022/05/signs-same-sex-sexual-harassment/



This 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. If a woman puts up posters or spreads rumors that make another woman uncomfortable, engages in rude physical gestures or facial expressions towards them, or tells sexually explicit jokes or offensive comments, stalks someone on social media to gather personal information, and later gossips about it, as well as badmouths other women to the boss to secure one's position with poor management tactics or political maneuvering - all are forms of harassment. 



What can employees do? Follow the provisions of your employee handbook, and document all incidents. Tell the harasser they are inappropriate and to stop. Inform family members. If addressing the bully (harasser) is ineffective or creates more harm than good, involve a neutral third party. 



Consider involving a supervisor, manager, or human resources representative and filing a formal grievance. It's important to choose someone unbiased who can handle the situation discreetly. 


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