Gender Harassment & Discrimination


Put downs are just as harmful as come ons

Vision Legal, Inc. takes a broad view on sexual harassment.  We believe it’s not just about sex – it’s about gender.  This includes gender identity, expression, performance, appearance, as well as biological sex.

“Gender harassment” is hostile behavior that lacks any form of sexual interest.  Common examples include derogatory names, sexist comments, bullying, posting pornography, and more broadly subscribing to attitudes and cultures where women and/or members of the LGBTQ community do not belong in management.

Gender harassment differs from unwanted sexual attention because the focus of gender discrimination is to insult and reject, rather than pull into a sexual relationship.

Recently, the EEOC Select Task Force on Discrimination found that put downs are just as harmful as come ons.  Thus, “[w]hen sex-based harassment at work is measured by asking about this form of gender harassment, almost 60% of women report having experienced harassment in surveys. . . [and] . . . [w]hen researchers disaggregate harassment into the various subtypes (unwanted sexual attention, sexual coercion, and gender harassment), they find that gender harassment is the most common form of harassment.”

Importantly, victims of gender harassment and sexual harassment both “demonstrate similar negative psychological, work, and health consequences.”

But the EEOC found that the most common response to by those who experience sex-based harassment at work are to avoid the harasser (33% to 75%); deny or downplay the gravity of the situation (54% to 73%); or attempt to ignore, forget or endure the behavior (44% to 70%).  In many cases, therefore, targets of harassment do not complain or confront the harasser.

This must end.

Ending Gender Harassment Demands Direct Action

Since 2003, California has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity, and expression.  And, in 2015, the EEOC concluded that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation.  Further, more than twenty states and the District of Columbia have specific statutes prohibiting discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and sexual expression.

These were hard fought legal victories and they must be fiercely guarded.  That is why at Vision Legal, Inc., we subscribe to a zero-tolerance policy regarding any gender harassment in the workplace.  We all have the right to a fair and equal workplace.

If you are personally experiencing, or if you see a co-worker who is experiencing, crude, unfair, or hostile treatment or comments related to their sex, sexual identity or sexual expression, contact Vision Legal, Inc., and speak with a gender harassment attorney.

You are protected from retaliation and adverse employment action for reporting violations of law.  We will fight hard to protect and defend your right to a fair and equal workplace.


Source: EEOC, Harassment, 2016