What Laws Prohibit Sexual Harassment in Iowa

Several laws in Iowa protect a person from all forms of harassment. A person may be harassed due to their age, religion, any disabilities they have and because of their gender as well. Whatever the reason for the harassment, it always involves humiliation or intimidation. It is against the law to harass a person in the workplace and a person who is caught for this behavior will often pay profoundly serious legal consequences for their behavior.

Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gives the legal definition of harassment and explains the standards of how such cases are handled in court. Apart from these two laws, the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 also prohibits discrimination against employees, and harassment is considered a form of discrimination.

In addition to these laws, depending on the city a person resides in, they can search up their civil rights ordinances that target workplace discrimination to see what other protection they have.

What Behavior is Considered as Sexual Harassment in Iowa?

For an act of discrimination to be considered as sexual harassment, the act must have been unwelcoming and it must have been sexual as well. If the act was not welcome by the victim and if the act was carried out due to the gender of the person that it is considered sexual harassment. A simple argument between a man and a woman in the workplace would not be considered sexual harassment unless it had an underlying sexual component to it.

It is important to keep in mind that if the other party welcomes the behavior and they are not frightened in any way then they are not being harassed.

Sexual harassment may occur in the following ways:

  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Visual
  • Hazing

Physical harassment is often the most intense form and it entails that the harasser sexually touches the victim. Verbal harassment can be anything from a joke to comments regarding what a person is wearing using demeaning terms. Visual harassment includes displaying images and objects of a sexual nature in the workplace. Lastly, hazing refers to teasing and spreading rumors regarding a person’s sexual activities.

Anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they feel intimidated or humiliated because of the way they are being treated in their workplace should connect with a sexual harassment attorney and educate themselves on their rights. Every employee should know their company policies regarding harassment so they know how they should react and who they should get in touch with. Victims should also inform the harasser that their actions are not funny or acceptable in any way and they should make sure to keep any evidence safe to prove the harassment occurred.


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