"Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the .
The EEOC defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this 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." (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. In addition to Title VII, several other federal laws prohibit harassment based on certain protected classes. "The Americans with Disabilities Act" prohibits disability-based discrimination. "The Age Discrimination in Employment Act" (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination, making it illegal to discriminate against anyone age 40 and older. Employers may be liable under the ADEA when their supervisors and co-workers harass employees because of their age.
In addition to these federal laws, individual states or municipality may have laws or ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on other characteristics, such as sexual orientation, marital status, and smoking.
There are different categories of prohibited harassment which supervisors should be aware of in order to recognize and prevent from happening in their workplace.
Sexual harassment has become the one of the fastest growing areas in employment discrimination in America. Sexual harassment is an area where there are a large percentage of cases involving harassment by supervisors, which underscores how important it is to educate supervisors on harassment prevention. Racial harassment occurs when a victim is targeted because of his/her race. Religious harassment is harassment that is directed toward an employee's religious beliefs, or when a co-worker or supervisor is preaching to an employee and the employee perceives that behavior to be unwanted and offensive, which amounts to a hostile environment.