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What are types of sexual harassment at work?

For several decades now, employers in Florida and around the United States have been mandated to monitor their workplaces for potential sexual harassment and to work to prevent such behaviors from happening altogether. Laws have been clarified with regard to what may constitute sexual harassment and companies have developed policies about how they should or will handle allegations of such actions. So, what can be considered sexual harassment in Florida?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are numerous things that may result in an allegation of sexual harassment. These various things can be classified into two basic categories. One category covers anything that creates what a person can call a hostile environment in which to work. This grouping may include interactions between employees and their managers but does not have to involve a managerial-subordinate relationship. Even interactions involving equal colleagues may qualify for harassment in this category. The posting of offensive material, use of profane language and telling of inappropriate jokes when relating to things like race, gender, sex, disabilities or other qualities protected under labor laws may result in a finding of harassment.

Another type of harassment does include people involved in a managerial-subordinate relationship in which the person in the position of power essentially tells the subordinate to do something in order to get something. This is sometimes referred to as quid pro quo harassment. An example is the suggestion by a manager that an employee submit to sexual advances in exchange for a job-related benefit.

Employers have the responsibility of creating and maintaining environments in which employees feel safe to work. Understanding these laws is important for employees and employers alike.

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