You may know that sexual harassment was made illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But what are the regulations and recourse defined under this law? Today we provide three facts that anyone should know about workplace sexual harassment:
A sexual harassment victim can be broadly defined. The victim of a sexual harassment claim can be anyone who was negatively impacted by offensive sexual behavior. It does not have to be the person who was the direct target of the harassment.
Sexual harassment isn’t only perpetrated by superiors. It is an employer’s responsibility to create a workplace free of degrading and demeaning conduct. Therefore, an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassing conduct of anyone in the workplace (e.g., a coworker or even a non-employee, such as a vendor) if the employer is aware—or should be aware—of such behavior and tolerates it.
Victims have a fixed window of time to report sexual harassment. There is a time limit—known as a statute of limitations—by which a victim must report allegations of sexual harassment to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This statute of limitations varies by state. In Texas, the amount of time a victim has to file a sexual harassment claim against an employer depends on the size of the company:
- Employers with at least 15 employees: statute of limitations is 300 days.
- Employers with fewer than 15 employees: statute of limitations is 180 days.
Sexual harassment can be an emotionally and physically damaging experience. It’s important for victims to find out what their rights are and take action quickly. An employment discrimination lawyer can be a valuable asset in giving victims the courage and support to come forward and assert their rights within the requisite amount of time.