Sexual harassment, specifically, in the form of, (quid pro quo), includes a request for sexual favors in exchange for hiring, promotion or salary increase. This is generally followed by sexual comments, threats or unwanted groping, that may constitute a “hostile environment” for the employee. A hostile environment generally is the result of a pronounced period of harassment in the office place. This essentially is the end result of different forms or singular behavior patterns of harassment. This consistent negative behavior over time will create a workplace environment, where the employee simply can’t perform their job requirements as a result of mental anguish and emotional trauma. This often is previewed by pornographic pictures, sexual bantering, groping or lewd remarks. These actions are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is in effect for any company with 15 employees or more. The employee has 180 days from the harassment incident, which to file a complaint under Title VII. These actions can be committed by managers, fellow employees, owners, or vendors. Quite often sexual harassment issues are thought of in regard to men’s treatment of women, but this type of behavior is more and more frequently related to gender neutral behavior, in a sexual context. Arizona has specific state laws regarding sexual harassment, but local laws may also apply and may include companies with fewer than 15 employees.
Office Sexual Harassment
Companies in Arizona are not required by the state, to have annual or bi-annual training programs for their employees, but it is strongly recommended to avoid problems, between employees and between managers and subordinates. Sexual harassment is rarely a single incident, but more often a combination of incidents that occur over time and are accompanied by varying consequences and degrees of emotional trauma. For example, unwelcome conduct might be a single act serious enough to constitute harassment. However, frequently repeated, smaller offensive actions can also constitute other forms of harassment, which can be serious enough to justify a complaint to a manager, or directly to HR. This often creates a fine line in the workplace. Minor teasing or casual, one-time lewd, or off-color jokes, are not generally considered sexual harassment. The action itself must be continuous, and of a lewd nature, done on a regular basis, and must cause emotional distress, to the individual who is the target of the action.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
The bottom line of sexual harassment is a behavior action labeled, “unwelcome conduct.” Workplace employees frequently develop social ties, but these generally involve consensual behavior on the part of employees. Sexual harassment comes front and center, when a superior makes sex a requirement for getting the job, or ( Quid pro quo ) “This for that” essentially getting a salary increase, or being considered for a promotion, which has nothing to do with talent, but sexual advances. Evidence of this “quid pro quo”, “this for that” or “something for something,” was a frequent form of job interviews in Hollywood, & generally continued among people who have power over a less powerful educated employee. Other examples of sexual harassment would be a locker room pornographic poster in a work area. This frequent exposure of images of a sexual nature could constitute a “hostile work environment,” causing anguish and discomfort to a fellow employee negatively affecting their daily performance on the job.
Laws in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, both federal and state sexual harassment laws may apply. Federal law, Title XII applies to companies over 15 employees, and the complaint is filed with the EEOC. If an employee works for a company that is smaller than 15 employees, state laws would still apply, and a complaint would be filled with the Arizona Civil Rights Division. Many legal experts suggest the employee file with both agencies, depending on which statutes would best apply. In Arizona, the sexual attention must be “unwanted,” which means that employees, must have evidence that the negative behavior was unwanted. Both agencies have a 180-day statute of limitations, in all cases.
Sexual Harassment Complaint Filling in Arizona
Dealing with the decision to file a sexual harassment complaint in Arizona or anywhere, is always a difficult decision. It is recommended that the harassed employee first speak to the individual promoting this negative behavior, informing their fellow employee, that it makes them very uncomfortable, & is unwanted. This should be done in a very firm, but professional way. If nothing happens, or behavior does not change, a manager or supervisor should be alerted, & then reported to HR. In many cases, these issues can be resolved, without legal or HR. action.
Reporting a complaint in Arizona:
- Alert your manager and report the negative behavior, informing them of your preventive approach and action you have taken to stop it.
- The employee manual was given to all new employees, often covers human resource information on your options
- Keep all dates of the incidences of harassment, when they occurred, what was said. A timeline chronicle is also a very important tool in fighting opposing legal experts.
- Ask fellow employees to verify their knowledge of the incidents, in a statement to HR.
- Always file an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaint, to help you remedy the situation and come to a settlement.
- Filing an EEOC complaint is a legal requirement for a sexual harassment lawsuit in court.
If your company needs sexual harassment or harassment training in Arizona, click here to see Employee Harassment Training’s Arizona trainers.
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