The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency in-charge of handling sexual harassment complaints. In addition, it also conducts different programs to stop sexual harassment before it even happens.
This unlawful action covers request for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. A certain action will be considered illegal if:
- Submission to it was made implicitly or explicitly a condition or term of a person's employment
- It has the effect or purpose of unfairly interfering with a person's job performance or creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment
- Rejection or submission to it was used as a basis when making an employment decision that will affect an individual
To be more specific, examples of sexual harassment include the following:
- Cat calls or whistling at an employee
- Calling an adult employee a hunk, babe, or doll
- Telling sexual stories or jokes
- Making rude sexual comments regarding a female employee's body
- Spreading rumors or telling lies about an employee's sex life
- Elevator eyes, which means looking at an employee up and down
- Following an employee
- Licking lips, throwing kisses, or winking
- Blocking an employee's path
- Stroking, patting, kissing, or hugging
- Touching an employee's hair, body, or clothing
- Massaging an employee's shoulders or neck
Meanwhile, here are the two types of sexual harassment:
- Hostile work environment- It occurs when a certain action unfairly interferes with an employee's job performance and makes the work environment hard to tolerate.
- Quid pro quo- It happens when a boss or manager asks for sexual favors from an employee in exchange of being promoted, keeping his job, or receiving a higher salary.
An employee is entitled to file a sexual harassment complaint if he or she was sexually harassed by a superior or co-worker. After EEOC receives the complaint, it will investigate the allegation and come up with a finding.
If it determines that the employee's allegations are true, it will communicate with both parties in the aim of settling the complaint. If this move was unsuccessful, the agency has the right to file a case in court.