Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U. Employers are now aware that they can be sued by the victims of workplace sexual harassment.
The accusations of sexual harassment made by against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his 1991 confirmation hearings also raised societal consciousness about this issue. This language has also formed the basis for most state laws prohibiting sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment may be physical, such as kissing, hugging, pinching, patting, grabbing, blocking the victim's path, leering or staring, or standing very close to the victim.
Thomas forcefully denied all of Hill's allegations and portrayed himself as the victim of a racist attack.
The trial judge and the Supreme Judicial Court agreed that Raab's behavior constituted sexual harassment because it interfered with the three plaintiffs' work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, and sexually offensive work environment. In a strongly worded opinion, he complained of the lack of common sense demonstrated by the lower courts that had hitherto excluded same-sex claims, and also those that had conditioned liability on a same-sex sexual harasser being gay or lesbian. Generally, occurrences must be significant or repeated or both for substantial interference to be established. Anita Faye Hill, a professor at the University of Oklahoma Law Center, accused Thomas of sexually harassing her when she worked for him at the U. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) between 19.
Raab's sexual orientation did not excuse the conduct. The issue of sexual harassment drew national attention during the 1991 Senate hearings on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the U. The public disclosure of the allegations resulted in nationally televised hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Courts and employers generally use the definition of sexual harassment contained in the guidelines of the U. The guidelines state: A key part of the definition is the use of the word unwelcome.
Unwelcome or uninvited conduct or communication of a sexual nature is prohibited; welcome or invited actions or words are not unlawful.
Eventually the three employees quit their jobs with the lumber company and sued, claiming that sexual harassment was the reason for their departure. Oncale eventually quit, requesting that Sundowner indicate that he voluntarily left due to sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The Fifth Circuit ruled against Oncale, stating that the Title VII prohibition against sexual harassment does not include same-sex sexual harassment, even harassment as blatant as Oncale's supervisor exposing his penis and placing it on Oncale's body, and also, along with two co-workers, attacking Oncale in a shower and forcing a bar of soap into his anus while threatening rape. "Title VII and Same-Sex Sexual Harassment After Oncale—Uncertainty Lingers." Colorado Lawyer 32 (June). The quid pro quo may be direct, as when a superior explicitly demands sexual favors and threatens firing if the demands are not met, or it may be indirect, as when a superior suggests that employment success depends on "personality" or "friendship" rather than competence.