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When you work in an office, you should expect to be treated fairly and with respect. Although that may be the ideal, in offices across Florida it is not always the case. Although it’s illegal at the federal level for anyone to engage in sexual harassment due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Florida also has state laws in place that prohibit anyone from engaging in sexually harassing conduct. The Florida Civil Rights Act strictly proscribes anyone from discriminating in a workplace environment based on gender, marital status, or pregnancy. In legal terms, sexual harassment is defined as any form of illegal sexual discrimination; the Florida Civil Rights Act pertains to both public and private organizations and companies with more than 15 employees.
Sexual harassment can come in many forms and doesn’t always have to be explicit. Sometimes the most harmful types of sexual harassment can be in the form of implicit sexual conduct. The different forms of sexual harassment are quid pro quo situations and the creation of a hostile work environment.
If you are a victim of “quid pro quo,” it means that someone has requested a sexual favor and, in exchange, they will grant you an employment favor – like a promotion or some other advantageous situation. It might also be that someone requests a sexual favor, and you are led to believe that if you don’t acquiesce to the request, you can be terminated, demoted, or given a bad review. “Quid pro quo” is an “if you do this I will do that” type of situation, and something related to your job is influenced by you providing a sexual favor.
Another form of sexual harassment is if another person in the office – whether it is another employee or a supervisor – is engaging in sexually charged conduct or behavior that would threaten or intimidate any reasonable person. It’s not just based on one act – if someone is systematically and pervasively making you feel threatened sexually and is creating a hostile workplace environment, then that is also a form of sexual harassment, and is prohibited both under federal and Florida state laws.
The law also states that no one can discriminate against an individual due to their sex, sexual presence, marital status, or transgender identity. So if someone is continually making derogatory remarks, terminates you, or refuses to hire you due to discrimination, that is also considered sexual harassment.
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