Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination that occurs when unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other workplace conduct creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. Members of both sexes, men and women, can be victims of sexual harassment.
Steps to Document Sexual Harassment Video
Like other types of sex discrimination, sexual harassment is illegal in Colorado. Employees are protected from sexual harassment by laws at both the state and federal level.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.) is a federal law that prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. Title VII also prohibits harassment against a person who is transgender, known as gender identity discrimination, and harassment against a person who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Title VII applies to state and local governments, and to all employers with 15 or more employees. However, Title VII does not apply to employers with less than 15 employees. In addition to making sexual harassment illegal, Title VII also protects employers from retaliating against employees who file a discrimination complaint or lawsuit.
Sexual harassment is also prohibited under Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.Co. Rev. Stat. Sec. 24-34-402. The Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of employer size. Even employers who have fewer than 15 employees and are thus exempt from Title VII are governed by the Anti-Discrimination Act. However, churches and other religious employers are exempt from the law unless they receive public funding.
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act protects both males and females from sexual harassment. Like Title VII, the Anti-Discrimination Act also protects persons from harassment because of sexual orientation or transgender status.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is one of the most harmful forms of sexual discrimination. And although sexual harassment is often accompanied by economic injury, such as unequal pay, this is not a requirement. Likewise, an employee does not need to be fired in order to file a sexual harassment complaint or lawsuit. However, not all sexual conduct in the workplace amounts to sexual harassment. For example, the harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome in order for it to be sexual harassment.
There are two primary types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and “quid pro quo” harassment. This latter type is less common, and occurs when an employer makes a condition of the employment contingent on sexual favors.
Sexual harassment can include:
- Harassment by a co-worker, supervisor, or even a non-employee;
- Unwanted touching;
- Sexual propositions;
- Use of derogatory names or terms;
- Spreading of sexual rumors; and
- Sexual stereotyping.
Contact a Colorado Sexual Harassment Attorney
If you are a victim of sexual harassment or if you are affected by sexual harassment in your workplace, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. We can advise you about how Colorado law applies to your particular situation and, if necessary, help you file a sexual harassment complaint or lawsuit. At HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, our attorneys have experience representing both victims of sexual harassment and defending employers against sexual harassment lawsuits.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, don’t wait! Contact an HKM Employment Attorney online or by calling 303-991-3075 for a private consultation.