Is Sexual Harassment Considered Gender Discrimination? - Barrett & Farahany

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Is Sexual Harassment Considered Gender Discrimination?

Is Sexual Harassment Considered Gender Discrimination?

workplace sexual harassment

Many people may believe that sexual harassment automatically falls under the category of gender discrimination. However, certain factors determine whether or not an individual’s experience with sexual harassment can be considered this form of workplace discrimination. Our employment law attorneys explain when sexual harassment is considered gender discrimination.

Understanding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. This can include unwanted advances, inappropriate comments or gestures, and other forms of harassment that make someone feel uncomfortable in their workplace.

Why Is It Important Whether Or Not Sexual Harassment is Gender Discrimination?

You may be questioning why it’s important to understand whether or not sexual harassment is considered gender discrimination. When sexual harassment already has targeted legal protections to protect victims, why does it matter if it’s gender discrimination as well?

Determining whether or not it’s gender discrimination means the victim may have more legal protections that can help them receive damages and protect them against retaliation. While it may not be necessary either way, knowing what protections you have is always helpful.

Is Sexual Harassment Considered Gender Discrimination?

While sexual harassment can be considered a form of discrimination based on gender, it does not always fall under the category of gender discrimination in the workplace. To determine if someone’s experience with sexual harassment can be considered gender discrimination, there are two key factors to consider:

  • Gender: The harasser must have targeted you based on your gender. Someone of the same gender can discriminate against you for your gender.
  • Motive: The motive behind the harassment must be related to your gender.

For example, the harasser may have made inappropriate comments about your appearance or made advances based on your gender. But considering the nature of sexual harassment, when is it gender discrimination and when is it inappropriately displayed attraction?

Typically, the sexual harasser in question may use derogatory terms towards your gender as they harass you or in response to rejection. This is when it expands from just sexual harassment to gender discrimination as well.

Legal Protections for Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Victims of workplace sexual harassment have legal protections under federal and state laws. These protections include:

If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace and meet the criteria for gender discrimination, you may be able to file a legal claim for damages. People need to document any incidents of sexual harassment and report it to their employer or the appropriate authorities.

Contact the Employment Law Attorneys at Barrett & Farahany For Help

While sexual harassment may often be seen as a form of gender discrimination in the workplace, there are specific factors that must be met for it to fall under this category legally. It affects your potential damages and workplace protections if the sexual harassment incident doesn’t include gender discrimination.

People need to understand their rights and seek legal assistance if they have experienced workplace sexual harassment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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