Sexual harassment is a pervasive issue throughout multiple sectors, including education. According to the AAUW, two-thirds of students in higher education experience sexual harassment during college. The U.S. Department of Education utilizes Title IX to prevent and remedy acts of sexual harassment in education settings.
Which Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment in Education?
Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal funding. Under Title IX, schools are required to respond to reports of sexual harassment and must have established procedures for handling complaints. In addition to Title IX, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can also offer protection in cases where sexual harassment intersects with discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.
What Are The Types of Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can take many forms, including unwelcome verbal, visual, nonverbal, or physical conduct that is inappropriate or sexual in nature. Some forms of sexual harassment are more clear than others, such as unwanted kissing, touching, making sexually explicit comments, rape, etc. While these types of sexual harassment are evident, there are also more subtle types of sexual harassment that can still occur. A general list of different types of sexual harassment include:
- Repeated statements that make the individual feel uncomfortable.
- Commenting on attractiveness.
- Asking an employee about their sex life.
- Making sexual comments or jokes.
- Sending inappropriate messages (texts, emails, etc.)
- Spreading sexual rumors.
- Repeated incidents of unwanted or inappropriate touching.
- Subjecting persons of a certain gender to increased scrutiny, criticism, and harassment, or otherwise making their workplace uncomfortable.
- Sexual advances or propositions, including suggestions of trading advancement for sexual favors (commonly known as quid pro quo.)
- Verbal or physical abuse.
- Using sexist slurs or comments.
What to Do if You Have Been Sexually Harassed?
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (and other state and federal statutes), your employer has a responsibility to prevent, investigate, and properly handle sexual harassment complaints. If you have experienced sexual harassment, the individual(s) could be responsible for any compensation you require for your pain.
In order to have a powerful case, it’s necessary to maintain a detailed account of what happened. This information should include:
- The nature of the harassment
- When the harassment took place
- Who was involved
- The location of the harassment
- If there were any witnesses
Additionally, you should tell the harasser directly that their behavior is making you uncomfortable and ask them to stop. If they do not stop, report it to someone in your organization, like a coworker, manager, or human resources. Others might be experiencing the same issue, so speaking up is important. Finally, seek the advice of a sexual harassment lawyer.
What is Sexual Harassment Retaliation?
When an individual faces negative consequences for reporting sexual harassment or for participating in a sexual harassment investigation, it is considered retaliation.
This retaliation can include job termination, demotion, salary reduction, or other adverse employment actions. It’s illegal and aims to discourage victims and witnesses from reporting or testifying about sexual harassment. Such retaliation can worsen the affected individual’s work environment and violate their rights, reinforcing a culture of silence and fear around reporting sexual harassment.
McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Sexual Harassment Attorneys Will Represent You
Title IX and university sexual misconduct policies strictly prohibit sexual harassment in education settings, regardless of whether you’re a student or faculty. Filing a report with your school’s Title IX coordinator is the first step toward healing.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in education, contact the dedicated sexual harassment and retaliation recovery attorneys of McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. today to find out how we can bring you the justice you deserve. With offices in NJ, NY, and PA, call today for a free consultation.