The term sexual harassment can be interpreted in many different ways. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines sexual harassment as, any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Unwelcome conduct becomes sexual harassment and actionable by law when any one of the following three criterias is met:
1.The submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of an individuals employment.
2.Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals.
3.Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individuals work performance as creating an intimidating, hostile, and an offensive working environment.
Although some might think of this crime as just harmless flirting, a joke, or having a little fun, to many it is a degrading and embarrassing experience. In an effort to stop this crime, many laws have been passed in order to help fight sexual harassment.
One of the myths about sexual harassment is that the woman is always the victim. While most reported cases of sexual harassment are by women, there has been an increase in the cases reported by males. As more women are being placed in supervisory positions, societys understanding of sexual harassment is being redefined and the increase in the acceptability of homosexuality, these numbers may continue to rise. The shame of the male victim is beginning to fade and more men are reporting these crimes. The movie Disclosure, starring Demi Moore and Michael Douglas, gave insight to the sexual harassment of males and the difficulties that the victim has, be it male or female. A man, as well as a woman may be the victim of sexual harassment, and a woman as well as a man may be the harasser. Males and females are both protected from homosexual advances as well as harassment by the opposite sex.
Sexual harassment can be broken down into two categories. The first type is called quid pro quo harassment. This form can basically be understood as one thing in return for another, You scratch my back, and Ill scratch yours. Often times in the school environment quid pro quo harassment occurs when a school employee causes a student to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct in order to get a good grade, or have sexual conduct with them in order to participate in programs or classes. In the work place, this form of harassment can occur when a person in authority, usually a supervisor, demands sexual favors of a subordinate as a condition of receiving or keeping a job benefit.
The second form of sexual harassment is called hostile environment. This occurs when one might feel inferior, intimidated, or offended because of sexual misconduct from another person. These feelings cause the victim(s) atmosphere to feel hostile. There must be three elements to constitute hostile environment sexual harassment. The actions must be sexual in nature, unwelcome or unwanted, and repeated. In the classroom, this harassment takes charge when unwelcome sexually harassing conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects a students ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or activity. This might occur when not only one person but also groups of people make an individual feel offended in their own surroundings. In the work place, a hostile work environment arises when a co-worker or supervisor, engaging in unwelcome and inappropriate sexually based behavior.
Before 1964, sexual harassment was not an uncommon situation in the workplace. Not many people knew what kind of emotional damage it could do to one. In the year of 1964, the Civil Rights Act, Title VII, prohibited sexual and racial discrimination at work. This was the first step in order in the push to stop sexual harassment. The Civil Rights Act, of 1972 prohibited sexual and racial discrimination against students and staff in educational programs or activities that receive federal funds. It states that students can sue to collect monetary damages from the school and that the school can lose federal funds. This law is essential in ensuring nondiscriminatory, safe environments