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Same Sex Sexual Harassment Cases are No Different

When most people think of sexual harassment, they imagine some creep in an office setting getting a little too handsy with a female coworker or making degrading remarks toward her. While that’s an accurate depiction, many fail to realize that same sex sexual harassment cases are no different.

It can be challenging for some to imagine a man sexual harassing another man, or a woman doing the same to her female coworker. However, it happens more often than you might think and the law treats these cases the same as any other.

Defining Sexual Harassment

Under the law, sexual harassment falls under sex discrimination. It involves unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive or vulgar language, and any other conduct deemed derogatory that is motivated by sex or the victim’s gender.

Any of those actions are considered illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The law focuses on aspects of the workplace, such as hiring or promotions, when dealing with sexual discrimination and the actions of those in the workplace for sexual harassment. Title VII does not include sexual orientation in its definitions, meaning that same sax and different sex harassment are treated the same.

Prominent Cases

There are various cases that show American law treats harassment the same across the board, regardless of the genders of the abuser and the victim. Onacle v. Sundown Offshore Servs., Inc. is an excellent example.

The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where judges ruled that Title VII does not exclude unwelcome conduct between two people of the same gender. They also continued with the definition of harassment being severe and pervasive as opposed to isolated or incidental.

If a male supervisor were making unwanted advances toward a male employee, it is prohibited under United States law. Making derogatory comments with sexually insulting language and a harasser treating two sexes differently are also covered under Title VII.

Another prominent case is Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. Also making it to the Supreme Court, judges ruled that employees do not have to conform to gender stereotypes. In the case, a woman was told she was overly masculine and needed to act more like a woman.

The Court ruled that this, too, was discrimination based on sex and the conduct was harassing in nature. The same would apply if any place of work harassed a male employee for being too feminine. Both cases show that sexual harassment can happen between those of the same sex as well as opposite sexes.

Seeking JusticeWhen harassment is running rampant in the workplace, it’s your duty to report it. That can be terrifying, especially as the victim, since any retaliation against you could affect your livelihood. Luckily, that’s what skilled legal professionals like this San Francisco harassment attorney are for. They can help you fight for your rights, seek compensation, and undo any retaliation brought on by your workplace or managers.