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There are all sorts of things that can hinder your advancement at work. Sometimes they are limitations on your behalf, while in other cases they are things outside of your control. If you are unable to get where you want to be due to sexual discrimination, then it is illegal both at the Missouri state level and at the federal level, and you do have resources to make a claim. Likewise, if someone is sexually harassing you at work and creating a threatening atmosphere, that is also strictly prohibited.
The Missouri Human Rights Act bans any employer from discriminating against anyone according to their sex. According to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, sexual harassment is against the law. The Missouri Human Rights Act covers any company with more than six employees in the private sector and all state-employed individuals in Missouri. It is also illegal to sexually discriminate at the federal level due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Many behaviors can be defined as sexual harassment. In order to have a sexual harassment case, you have to prove that the misconduct was pervasive and systematic enough to create an overall atmosphere that was hostile and that it interfered with your ability to work productively. It’s not just about proving one act; to be considered harassment it has to be that someone is behaving in a way that is making for an intimidating, threatening, or overall hostile atmosphere.
Any behavior that is meant to intimidate can be considered sexually harassing. Examples of sexually-harassing misconduct are sexual advances, sexual innuendos, touching that is non-consensual, derogatory comments and remarks, jokes of a sexual nature, and explicit sexual images or photographs.
To prove that you are the victim of workplace harassment, you also have to show that it isn’t just you who is offended by the behavior. Should you file a claim for a lawsuit, you will have to prove the theory of reasonableness. “Reasonableness” is a legal constraint that means that if any reasonable person were in the same situation as you, they would also be offended by the behavior.
Sometimes sexual harassment can come in one single act. For instance, if you have a boss or supervisor who makes it implicitly or explicitly known that your position at work will suffer if you don’t acquiesce to their sexual advance, that is a form of sexual harassment. In the same manner, if that supervisor or boss offers you an advancement in exchange for a sexual favor, that too would be a case of sexual harassment.
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