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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOC)

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board has conducted studies, surveys and general research on the problem of sexual harassment in the federal workplace as far back as 1980, with findings which indicated that there was, indeed, a perceived harassment problem at virtually all levels of the federal government.

Nondiscrimination On The Basis Of Sex In Education Programs And Activities Receiving Or Benefiting From Federal Financial Assistance is a copy from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Chapter 1, Part 106, giving the latest Federal regulations concerning sex discrimination and federal aid compliance.

Primer On Sexual Harassment (plain text version) of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services (1998) Same sex harassment and harassment of males is judged to be legally possible and actionable, under Title VII. U.S. Supreme Court.

Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, Florida (1998) Employers are responsible for the misconduct of supervisors, even if the employer was not specifically aware of the behavior. Also, the failure to disseminate its sexual harassment policy to each employee, failure of city officials to make any attempt to keep track of the supervisors' conduct, and not maintaining a policy and procedure that allowed employees to by-pass their direct supervisor to register complaints about improper harassment were noted by the court. However, the court went on to state that, "...Title VII is not meant to be a "general civility code." Its purpose is to attempt to draw a distinction between the ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language, gender-related jokes, and occasional teasing and actionable misconduct." U.S. Supreme Court.

Burlington Industries v. Ellerth (1998) Even if the harassed employee did not suffer any significant damages or tangible impact upon their job or person, the employer may still be held liable for the harassment, and the employee can recover against the employer. The facts of this case were determined to fall under the "hostile and abusive" work environment standard defining harassment. U.S. Supreme Court.

Harris v. Forklift Systems (1993) The Court ruled that an abusive and hostile work environment is illegal even if the employee charging harassment did not suffer psychological damages. "The applicable standard, here reaffirmed, is stated in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (below). Title VII is violated when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a discriminatorily hostile or abusive working environment." U.S. Supreme Court.

Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) One of the earliest cases in which the Court affirmed and extended the definition of a hostile work environment ("...harassment that, while not affecting economic benefits, creates a hostile or offensive working environment...") prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. U.S. Supreme Court.

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