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Specificity not requried for EEOC charge

Florida employees who have been victims of workplace sexual harassment may be interested in a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit regarding a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim. The court rejected the argument submitted by the employer that the EEOC charge did not specify quid pro quo harassment and reversed the dismissal of the claim and returned it to the court for trial.

There are two forms of sexual harassment banned under Title VII that are recognized by most human resource professionals. Quid pro quo harassment takes place when a person in authority demands sexual deeds from a subordinate as a requirement of employment. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an individual's behavior results in abusive working conditions.

Although there is a widespread acceptance of the two recognized types of illegal harassment, there is no use of either of the labels in Title VII or in any of its regulations. The appeals court held that the academic labels were adopted by the courts, and while the labels detail the different types of sexual harassment, they are not separate claims as they both refer to a claim of workplace sex discrimination in violation of Title VII.

The majority of the 10th Circuit panel ruled that because a claim of sex discrimination included both types of sexual harassment, the EEOC charge only had to declare sufficient fact to alert the former employer of the violation. The former employee was not required to specify which form of harassment was being alleged.

An attorney who provides sexual harassment legal assistance may assist workplace sexual harassment victims by holding the responsible parties liable for the negative effects of the abuse. A lawsuit could be filed if the matter cannot be resolved internally.

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