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What are the basics of workplace sexual harassment?

You have many rights as an employee in the state of Florida. This includes the ability to do your job without being sexually harassed. In addition to federal laws protecting employees against such activity, there are state laws in place as well.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "it is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex." There are many types of harassment including that of a sexual nature. Here are some of the more specific types of sexual harassment:

-- Unwanted sexual advances

-- Verbal harassment of a sexual nature

-- Physical harassment of a sexual nature

-- Request for sexual favors

While women are more often the victim of sexual harassment, this does not mean a man could never find himself in this position. Both the harasser and the victim can be either a man or a woman. Additionally, the harasser and the victim can be of opposite or the same sex.

Sexual harassment is illegal when it gets so severe that it leads to an offensive or hostile workplace, or when a victim is negatively impacted such as being fired or receiving a demotion.

When you understand the basics of workplace sexual harassment, it is easier to determine if you are a victim, as well as what you can do as a result. Anybody who finds him- or herself in this position should let the harasser know he or she is uncomfortable, and then report the incident to the human resources department. In severe cases, such as when a victim is terminated, he or she may wish to consult with an attorney.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Sexual Harassment" Sep. 24, 2014

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