Homosexual Harassment

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What Is Homosexual Harassment?

Homosexual harassment is defined a few different ways, and applied differently throughout the states, depending on the law of the state. Put simply, homosexual, or same-sex, harassment is defined as defined as unwelcome conduct from members of the same sex that is perceived as offensive, hostile, or abusive. This conduct also must alter the conditions of the victim's employment.

Do All States Recognize Homosexual Harassment?

No. Moreover, federal law technically does not cover sexual orientation. However, the law does prohibit discrimination based on sex. Thus, if a gay individual is treated hostilely or is subjected to offensive conduct based on their sex, and despite any preference, it may be actionable.

Currently, there are four approaches to homosexual harassment claims.

  1. Traditional - Under a traditional view, a homosexual individual cannot recover because the claim is inherently rooted in the victim’s sexual preference and not based on sex alone.
  2. Closeted View - Under this view, only individuals whose coworkers were unaware of the victim’s sexual preference will be able to recover. Under this view, the sexual preference could not possibly be the only basis for singling out an individual, and thus sex itself may have played a role.
  3. Failure to Conform - Under this view, victims who are harassed based on their failure to conform to a certain type of role associated with their gender are able to recover.
  4. Harasser’s View - This view completely shifts the focus from the victim to the view of the individual doing the harassing. Here, if an individual is harassing someone based on their sex, they may be able to recover.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you believe you are homosexual and have been harassed, you should speak with an employment lawyer immediately. A local attorney will be able to tell you the laws of your area and direct you accordingly.

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Last Modified: 10-16-2014 03:40 PM PDT

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