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Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Generally, sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to Florida and federal employment agencies and to labor organizations.
Sexual harassment can take many forms. For example, sexual harassment isn’t limited to a supervisor-subordinate relationship. If the conduct creates a hostile work environment or interrupts an employee’s success, it is considered unlawful sexual harassment-even if it made by a work colleague, or a client, vendor or contractor. But, the conduct must be unwelcome to qualify as sexual harassment in Florida. One common misconception is that the victim and harasser must be of the opposite gender. This is not the case. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex and the victim does not have to be the target of the harassment, it can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Moreover, unlawful sexual harassment may occur without the victim being terminated or having economic damages.
It is unlawful for a Gainesville employer to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex or for filing a discrimination charge. These claims, called Qui Tam actions, or sometimes, “whistleblower” actions, allow employees to recover if they suffer retaliation for filing a claim under Title VII.
Contact a Florida Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Whittel & Melton online now for a free consultation, or call 866-608-5529 to obtain more information about how we can assist you with your claim.
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