Gender harassment, or gender-based harassment, occurs when a person harasses another based on their gender or gender identity. The harassment does not need to be based on anything of a sexual nature. Instead, gender harassment usually involves stereotypes based on the roles and functions associated with a particular gender.
Workplace gender harassment laws are similar to Title IX laws, which prevent gender harassment and discrimination in school settings. In an employment and work setting, gender harassment can occur between co-workers, between a supervisor and a subordinate, and in various other settings.
A wide range of conduct can be considered gender workplace harassment. This conduct can include actions such as:
- Inappropriate displays of material that degrades a particular gender, such as a comic or other type of visual
- Comments or remarks that gender-degrading, such as inappropriate jokes or stories (especially if they are directed at a particular person or group of persons)
- Insults or derogatory actions directed towards a person based on their gender
- Remarks that continue after the person has requested them to stop, or has indicated that they are offensive
- Actual physical contact, assault, or interference with the person due to gender issues
Gender harassment can result in various remedies, including:
- Removal or termination of the person responsible for the harassment
- Damages for losses caused by the gender harassment, such as lost wages and lost business opportunities
- Changes in company workplace policies
In many instances, gender harassment will also include some elements of gender discrimination. In such cases, legal remedies may include:
- Reinstatement of the victim to a previous job role (for instance, if the discrimination or harassment led to a termination)
- Investigation into the workplace by the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because filing with the EEOC is often required for discrimination cases before a lawsuit can be filed
Lastly, some gender harassment cases may be filed as a class action lawsuit if many different employees are affected by the same issue.
Gender harassment in the workplace is a serious issue and often requires legal action. It may be in your best interests to hire an harassment attorney in your area if you need assistance with a gender harassment claim. Your attorney can research the laws to determine what course of action is most appropriate for your situation. If you need to file a claim with the EEOC or with the court, your lawyer can provide legal representation during those processes.