Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Khadija Murad 2/17/2020

In 2017, the #Metoo movement swept through the U.S. bringing a fresh focus on sexual harassment in workplaces, but protections were in place before that.

In the late 1980’s, the Supreme Court interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include discrimination based on “sex” as sexual harassment in the workplace. The law recognizing sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as government and labor organizations.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of ways, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

  • The victim, as well as the harasser, may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex from the harasser.
  • The harasser may be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or a nonemployee, such as a vendor or customer.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.

More than 7,500 sexual harassment claims were filed with the EEOC in FY 2018. This was a 14 percent increase from the prior year. Due to the recent wave of sexual harassment accusations, many states are looking to go beyond federal regulations to prevent workplace sexual harassment. Some states have included “sex” in their discrimination laws as a protected class.

Depending on the specific state, “sex” protections can cover the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace. Other states have explicitly included a prohibition of sexual assault in the workplace in their employment discrimination laws. Currently, 47 states prohibit “sex” discrimination. Twelve of these states cover sexual harassment under the protection against workplace discrimination based on sex. Twenty-four other states--plus D.C. and Puerto Rico--explicitly state that “sexual harassment” is not permitted in a workplace. Eight states go beyond prohibiting these practices by requiring employers to provide sexual harassment training in their workplaces.

Other states are looking for ways to ensure victims of sexual harassment in the workplace can report their accusations. Eleven states are currently working on legislation to prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements in situations involving workplace sexual misconduct. These states include: Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Below is a chart of all 50 states and their current laws regarding sexual harrassment and sexual harrassment training in the workplace. 

Jurisdictions

Sexual Harassment Prohibitions

Training Requirement

Federal
 
Title VII prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a supervisor or other person with apparent authority to confer or withhold an employment benefit demands sexual favors from an employee in return for continued employment or some employment benefit. For example, quid pro quo harassment occurs when an individual is forced to submit to unwelcome sexual demands in order to avoid negative work conditions.
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an employee is subject to unwelcome sexually offensive conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter employment conditions and creates an abusive or hostile work environment. To determine whether a workplace environment is hostile or abusive, one must look at all the circumstances, including:
•  the frequency of the discriminatory conduct;
•  the severity of the conduct;
•  whether the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and
•  whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance.
 
There is no federal provision on training related to sexual harassment.
 
Alabama
 
Alabama doesn't have sexual harassment statutes or regulations that apply generally to private-sector employment.
 
Alabama doesn't have sexual harassment statutes or regulations that apply generally to private-sector employment.
 
Alaska
 
[Note: The Alaska State Commission for Human Rights considers sexual harassment to be prohibited under the state's fair employment practices law.]
 
No data
Arizona
 
Sexual harassment is prohibited.
Nondisclosure agreements: A nondisclosure agreement's terms can't be used to prohibit certain disclosures related to actual or alleged violations of Arizona criminal laws regarding sexual offenses or obscenity. Specifically, they can't prohibit a party from answering a peace officer's or prosecutor's inquiry or making a statement not initiated by the party in a criminal proceeding. These disclosures can't be used to avoid or invalidate a party's right to consideration under the agreement or to require a party to return consideration that has been provided (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-720).
 
No data
Arkansas
 
[Note: The Arkansas Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is prohibited by the fair employment practices law (Island v. Buena Vista Resort, 352 Ark. 548, 103 S.W.3d 671 (2003)).]
 
No data
California
 
Fair employment practices law: Employers and their agents or supervisors can't commit or allow sexual harassment. Employers also can't aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce unlawful sexual harassment or try to do so.
There are two types of sexual harassment:• Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a job or promotion is explicitly or implicitly conditioned on applicants' or employees' submission to sexual advances or other conduct based on sex.
• Hostile work environment harassment occurs when unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex unreasonably interfere with employees' work performance or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. The harassment must be subjectively and objectively offensive and so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment and creates an abusive work environment. A single unwelcome act of harassment can be severe enough to create a hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment includes:• verbal harassment such as epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs;
• physical harassment such as assault, impeding or blocking movement, or physical interference with normal work or movement;
• visual harassment such as derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings; and
• unwanted sexual advances that condition employment benefits on sexual favors.

Employment benefits include hiring, employment, promotions, selection for training programs leading to employment or promotions, retention in employment or training programs, compensation, and the provision of a harassment-free workplace. They also include selection or training for or retention in unpaid internships or other limited-duration programs that provide unpaid work experience in apprenticeship training programs or other training programs leading to employment or promotions.
Loss of tangible employment benefits isn't necessary to establish that sexual harassment occurred. Sexually harassing conduct doesn't need to be motivated by sexual desire.
[Note: Cal. Civ. Code § 51.9 prohibits sexual harassment in the context of certain business, service, or professional relationships outside the workplace, whereas the fair employment practices law applies to workplace sexual harassment (Hughes v. Pair, 209 P.3d 963 (Cal. 2009)).]
Cal. Gov't Code § 12940
Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2, §§ 11019, 11034
 
Fair employment practices law: Until Jan. 1, 2019, employers must instruct supervisory employees on sexual harassment prevention. Specifically, employers must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education to all new supervisory employees in California within six months after they assume a supervisory position and once every two years thereafter. Supervisory employees are employees who are authorized to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, discipline, or direct other employees, adjust their grievances, or recommend these actions. New supervisory employees are employees who have been hired or promoted to a supervisory position since employers last provided instruction on sexual harassment prevention.
Effective Aug. 30, 2019, employers must instruct supervisory and nonsupervisory employees on sexual harassment prevention by Jan. 1, 2021 and once every two years thereafter. [Note: The Aug. 30, 2019, enactment of 2019 Cal. Stat. 215 (S.B. 778) extended the deadline for providing the required training to Jan. 1, 2021. Previously the deadline was Jan. 1, 2020, in accordance with 2018 Cal. Stat. 956 (S.B. 1343), effective Jan. 1, 2019.] Specifically, employers must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education to all supervisory employees in California, and at least one hour of such instruction to all nonsupervisory employees in the state. New supervisory and nonsupervisory employees must receive instruction within six months after they assume a position.[Note: Effective Aug. 30, 2019, an employer that provides this instruction to an employee in 2019 isn't required to provide refresher training until two years thereafter.] Supervisory employees are employees who are authorized to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, discipline, or direct other employees, adjust their grievances, or recommend these actions. New supervisory employees are employees who have been hired or promoted to a supervisory position since employers last provided instruction on sexual harassment prevention.
Supervisors aren't subject to the training requirements if they complied within the past two years through their current employer or a prior, alternate, or joint employer and they received, read, and acknowledged receipt of their current employer's anti-harassment policy within six months after assuming a new supervisory position or within six months after the employer became subject to the requirements. Their current employer has the burden of establishing such prior compliance.
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, employers also must provide instruction on sexual harassment prevention to seasonal employees, temporary employees, and employees who are hired to work for less than six months. This instruction must be provided within 30 calendar days of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. If a temporary employee is employed by a temporary services employer (as defined in Cal. Lab. Code § 201.3)to perform services for clients, that employer (not the clients) must provide the instruction.
New businesses must provide instruction on sexual harassment prevention within six months after they are established and once every two years thereafter. Established businesses that become subject to the training requirements must provide this instruction within six months after the requirements apply to them and once every two years thereafter.
To track the frequency of training, employers can use either or both of the following methods:• Individual basis: Employers can track training on an individual basis by measuring two years from the date each supervisor last completed training.
• Training-year basis: Employers can designate a training year in which they train some or all of their supervisors. These supervisors must be retrained by the end of the subsequent training year, which is two years later. If new supervisors receive initial training in a nontraining year, they can be retrained in the next training year and every training year thereafter.

Employers aren't liable to current or former employees and applicants, in any lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, solely based on a claim that they didn't receive the required instruction on sexual harassment prevention. Likewise, employers' compliance with the training requirements doesn't protect them from liability for sexual harassment.
Training Format
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employers can provide sexual harassment prevention training in conjunction with other training provided to employees. Employees can complete this training individually or as part of a group presentation, and they can complete it in segments if the total time requirement is met. Employers can develop their own training courses or direct employees to online training courses provided by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The department provides these courses on its website in English and various other languages. Employees who complete the required training can obtain a certificate of completion from the department.
Effective interactive training includes any of the following:• Classroom training, which is in-person instruction provided by a qualified trainer (see trainer requirements below) who creates the content and provides it to supervisors in a setting removed from their daily duties.
• E-learning training, which is individualized, interactive, computer-based training created by a qualified trainer (see trainer requirements below) and an instructional designer. Instructional designers develop training content based on trainer-provided material and their own expertise in current instructional best practices. This training must provide a link or directions on how to contact the trainer with questions and provide guidance and assistance within two business days after questions are asked.
• Webinar training, which is an internet-based seminar with content that is created and taught by a qualified trainer (see trainer requirements below) and transmitted over the internet or intranet in real time. This webinar must provide an opportunity to ask questions, have them answered, and otherwise seek guidance and assistance.

Employers can use audio, video, or computer technology or other tools in conjunction with classroom, e-learning, or webinar training; however, these tools are supplemental only and don't meet the training requirements by themselves. For any of the above training methods, instruction must include questions that assess learning; skill-building activities that assess the application and understanding of content; and numerous hypothetical scenarios about harassment, each with one or more discussion questions. Training doesn't need to be completed in two consecutive hours, but classroom or webinar training segments must be at least half an hour. E-learning training can use bookmarks that allow participants to pause their training session.
Training Content
California requires training on sexual harassment prevention to:• help employers change workplace behavior that causes or contributes to unlawful sexual harassment, and, effective Oct. 1, 2019, harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
• help supervisors prevent, respond to, address, and correct this behavior;and
• inform supervisors about the negative impact of abusive conduct at the workplace (see “abusive conduct” below).

To meet these objectives, such training must at least cover:• a definition of unlawful sexual harassment, and, effective Oct. 1, 2019, harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
• FEHA and Title VII statutory provisions and case law principles regarding the prohibition, prevention, and correction of unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation;
• the types of conduct that constitute harassment;
• available remedies for harassment victims in lawsuits and potential liability for employers and individuals;
• strategies for preventing harassment at the workplace;
• supervisors'obligation to report harassment, discrimination, and retaliation when they become aware of it;
• practical examples of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation through training modalities such as role play, case studies, and group discussion;
• the limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
• resources for harassment victims (for example, instructions on how to report alleged harassment);
• appropriate remedies for correcting harassing behavior, including employers' obligation to effectively investigate complaints;
• what to do if supervisors are accused of harassment;
• the essential elements of an anti-harassment policy and how to apply it if complaints are filed; and
• the definition of “abusive conduct” (see below).

Abusive conduct: Training on sexual harassment prevention also must address the prevention of abusive conduct in a meaningful way. Specifically, this training should:• explain the negative impact of abusive conduct on the victims of such conduct, other people at the workplace, and employers;
• discuss the elements of abusive conduct (including the definition below);and
• emphasize that a single act doesn't constitute abusive conduct, unless it is especially severe or egregious.

Abusive conduct is malicious conduct by employers or employees at the workplace if this behavior isn't related to employers' legitimate business interests and would be hostile or offensive to a reasonable person. It can include repeated verbal abuse such as derogatory remarks, insults, or epithets; verbal or physical conduct that would be threatening, intimidating, or humiliating to a reasonable person; and the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of employees' work performance.
Bystander intervention: Effective Jan. 1, 2019, training on sexual harassment prevention can, but isn't required to, include training on bystander intervention. This training can provide information and practical guidance that enables bystanders to recognize potentially problematic behaviors and motivates them to take action when they observe these behaviors. The training also can provide exercises that give bystanders the skills and confidence to intervene as appropriate and resources they can rely on to support their intervention.
Sexual orientation and gender identity or expression: Training on sexual harassment prevention also must address harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and provide practical examples of this harassment.
Trainer Requirements
Trainers and educators are qualified to provide required instruction on sexual harassment prevention if they have a combination of training, experience, knowledge, and expertise that enables them to train supervisors on:• effective Oct. 1, 2019, the definitions of abusive conduct, sexual harassment, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
• identifying behavior that might constitute unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation under California and federal laws;
• steps they can take when harassing behavior occurs at the workplace;
• how to report and respond to harassment complaints;
• their obligation to report harassing, discriminatory, or retaliatory behavior when they become aware of it;
• employers'obligation to investigate harassment complaints;
• what constitutes retaliation and how to prevent it;
• the essential components of an anti-harassment policy;
• the impact of harassment on harassed employees, co-workers, harassers, and employers; and
• effective Oct. 1, 2019, practical examples in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and the prevention of abusive conduct.

Trainers must be:• attorneys who have been admitted for at least two years to any U.S. state bar and whose practice includes employment law under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
• HR professionals, harassment prevention consultants, or, effective Oct. 1, 2019, peer-to-peer trainers with at least two years of practical experience in designing or conducting discrimination, retaliation, and harassment prevention training; responding to harassment or discrimination complaints;investigating harassment complaints; or advising employers or employees on discrimination, retaliation, and harassment prevention; or
• professors or instructors who teach at a law school, college, or university, until Oct. 1, 2019, have a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential; and have 20 instruction hours or at least two years of experience at a law school, college or university teaching about California's Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Trainers who lack the required amount of experience, but are otherwise qualified, can team teach with a qualified trainer in classroom or webinar trainings if that person supervises them and is available during these trainings to answer questions from participants.
Sexual orientation and gender identity or expression: Training that addresses harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression must be presented by trainers or educators with relevant knowledge and expertise.
Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12926, 12950 to 12950.2 (2018 Cal. Stat. 955 (S.B. 1300); 2018 Cal. Stat. 956 (S.B. 1343); 2019 Cal. Stat. 215 (S.B. 778))
Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2, § 11024 (27-Z Cal. Regulatory Notice Reg. 1013 (July 10, 2019))
 
Colorado
 
Employers and their agents or supervisory employees can't harass employees based on sex. Harassment is a form of discrimination. Harassment means severe or pervasive treatment that creates an objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment, regardless of whether tangible employment actions (such as loss of income) occur.
Sexual harassment that results in discrimination is prohibited. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is unlawful when submission to this conduct is an explicit or implicit requirement of employment or when employees and applicants are discriminated or retaliated against based on their response to the conduct.
 
No data
Connecticut
 
Fair employment practices law: Employers and their agents can't harass employees and applicants based on sex. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature when:• employees' and applicants' submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of their employment;
• employees' and applicants' submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions that affect them;
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with employees' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Effective Oct. 1, 2019, an employer may not take a corrective action in response to an employee's sexual harassment claim that modifies employment conditions, including relocation, work schedule reassignment, or other substantive changes to the employee's terms and conditions of employment, without the employee's written agreement to such modification. The employer's failure to obtain such written agreement doesn't prohibit the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities from finding, based on the evidence, that the corrective action was reasonable and not detrimental to the employee.
Interns: Employers and their agents can't sexually harass interns or internship applicants. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other conduct of a sexual nature when:• interns' and internship applicants' submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of their internship;
• interns' and internship applicants' submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for workplace decisions that affect them; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with interns' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Interns are persons who perform work for employers for training purposes if: • employers aren't committed to hiring them at the end of their training period;
• they agree with employers that they aren't entitled to wages;
• their work supplements educational training in a way that might enhance their employability and provides them with beneficial experience;
• their work doesn't provide any immediate advantage to employers and might occasionally impede employer operations; and
• their work is performed under the supervision of employers or employees and doesn't displace paid employees.

 
Until Oct. 1, 2019, employers must instruct new supervisors on sexual harassment prevention. Specifically, employers must provide at least two hours of training and education to all new supervisors of employees in Connecticut within six months after they assume a supervisory position. An employer who provided sexual harassment prevention training to a supervisor after Oct. 1, 1991 isn't required to provide it to the supervisor a second time. Employers also aren't required to provide such instruction to supervisors who received it after that date if the instruction substantially complied with these training requirements.
Effective Oct. 1, 2019, employers with three or more employees must provide all employees at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training and education within one year, provided that an employer who provided such training after Oct. 1, 2018, is not required to do so a second time under these provisions. An employer with three or more employees must provide training to an employee hired on or after Oct. 1, 2019, within six months after their hiring date.
Effective Oct. 1, 2019, an employer with less than three employees must provide training to all supervisory employees within one year of Oct. 1, 2019, or within six months of assumption of supervisory duties or hiring for new supervisory employees or supervisory employees hired on or after Oct. 1, 2019. An employer that provided compliant training after Oct. 1, 2018, is not required to do so a second time under these provisions.
Training must be conducted in a classroom-like setting, use clear and understandable language, and allow participants to ask and receive answers to their questions. Audio, video, or other teaching aides are optional. Training can be provided by employers'own employees or other people. Effective Oct. 1, 2019, all employers required to provide training must provide periodic supplemental training that updates all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees no less than every ten years.
Supervisors have the authority to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline employees or the responsibility to direct them, adjust their grievances, or effectively recommend these actions.
Training content must:• describe applicable federal and state laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, including Connecticut's Discriminatory Employment Practices Law (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.);
• define “sexual harassment”under Connecticut law (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(8)) and distinguish it from other forms of illegal harassment under state law;
• discuss types of conduct that might constitute illegal sexual harassment, including the fact that men or women can be harassers or victims of harassment and that harassment can occur between members of the same or opposite sex;
• describe remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, including cease-and-desist orders, back pay, compensatory damages, and hiring, promotion, or reinstatement;
• advise employees that people who commit sexual harassment can be subject to civil and criminal penalties;
• discuss strategies for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Employers may use the free training program provided by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply with the training requirements.
Training content also can:• instruct supervisors to take all sexual harassment complaints seriously, report them immediately to employer-designated officials, keep them confidential, and only disclose them on a need-to-know basis;
• include experiential exercises such as role playing, coed group discussions, and behavior modeling to facilitate an understanding of what sexual harassment is and how to prevent it;
• teach the importance of listening and other interpersonal skills to better understand what a victim of sexual harassment might be experiencing;
• advise supervisors about the importance of preventive strategies to avoid the negative impact of sexual harassment on victims and overall workplace productivity due to interpersonal conflicts, poor performance, absenteeism, turnover, and grievances;
• explain the benefits of learning about and eliminating sexual harassment, including a more positive work environment with greater productivity and lower exposure to liability;
• explain employers' policy against sexual harassment, including complaint reporting procedures and disciplinary actions; and
• discuss perception and communication differences among people in general and the concept of a “reasonable” person in federal sexual harassment cases.

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities encourages employers to update supervisors, every three years, on legal interpretations and related developments regarding sexual harassment.
 
Delaware
 
[Note: The Delaware Office of Anti-Discrimination considers sexual harassment to be a form of sex discrimination under the state's fair employment practices law (Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, §§ 710 to 711).]
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, sexual harassment of employees is unlawful when they are subject to conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and:• submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of their employment;
• submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting them;
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with their work performance; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employees include unpaid interns, applicants (as defined in Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 709B), joint employees, and apprentices (who are learning a Delaware-licensed practice from a practitioner licensed in the applicable profession).
 
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employers must provide interactive training and education on sexual harassment prevention to:• new employees within one year after their employment starts and every two years thereafter; and
• existing employees within one year after Jan. 1, 2019, and every two years thereafter.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employees are those who have been employed at least six months continuously. They include unpaid interns, joint employees, and apprentices (who are learning a Delaware-licensed practice from a practitioner licensed in the applicable profession), but don't include applicants (as defined in Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 709B) or independent contractors (as defined in Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 3507).
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the training must cover:• the illegality of sexual harassment;
• the definition of sexual harassment, with examples;
• the complaint process and legal remedies available to employees;
• directions on how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor; and
• the prohibition against retaliation.

[Note: If employers provided this training to employees before Jan. 1, 2019, no additional training is required until Jan. 1, 2020.]
Supervisors: Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employers must provide additional interactive training to:• new supervisors within one year after their supervisory employment starts and every two years thereafter; and
• existing supervisors within one year after Jan. 1, 2019, and every two years thereafter.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, supervisors are people who are authorized to change employees' employment status or who direct employees' daily work activities.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the training must cover supervisors' specific responsibilities regarding the prevention and correction of sexual harassment and cover the prohibition against retaliation.
[Note: If employers provided this training to supervisors before Jan. 1, 2019, no additional training is required until Jan. 1, 2020.]
 
District of Columbia
 
Employers can't harass employees and applicants based on actual or perceived sex. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.
 
[Note: On Oct. 23, 2018, the District of Columbia enacted new training requirements for employees, managers, owners, and operators of businesses that employ tipped workers (who are paid in accordance with D.C. Code § 32-1003(f)) regarding how to respond to, intervene in, and prevent sexual harassment (D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1411.05a (2018 D.C. Stat. 22-196 (B. 22-913, Act 22-489), § 5)). The requirements took effect Dec. 13, 2018, but don't apply until their fiscal effect is included in an approved budget and financial plan for the district. On Oct. 2, 2018, the district's chief financial officer issued a fiscal impact statement concluding that funds for fiscal years 2019 through 2022 aren't sufficient to implement the requirements.]
 
Florida
 
No data No data
Georgia
 
No data No data
Hawaii
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• interferes substantially with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Employers should affirmatively discourage sexual harassment by raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise the issue of sexual harassment and taking any other steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.
 
No data
Idaho
 
[Note: The Idaho Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under the fair employment practices law (Paterson v. State, 915 P.2d 724 (1996)). The Idaho Human Rights Commission also considers sexual harassment to be a form of sex discrimination under the fair employment practices law.]
 
No data
Illinois
 
It is a violation of the fair employment practices law for employers and their employees and agents to engage in sexual harassment of employees, applicants, and, effective Jan. 1, 2020, nonemployees. Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors, sexual advances, or any conduct of a sexual nature a term or condition of employment;
• makes submission to or rejection of a request for sexual favors, sexual advances, or any conduct of a sexual nature a basis for employment decisions;
• interferes substantially with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the “work environment” is not limited to the physical location where employees are assigned to perform their duties.

 
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees at least once a year. Employers can use the Illinois Department of Human Rights's model training program, or their own training program if it meets or exceeds the department's minimum standards. The minimum standards for a sexual harassment training program include: • an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the fair employment practices law;
• examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
• a summary of relevant federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims; and
• a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.

Employers may use the department's model training program to supplement an employer's existing program. For penalties associated with violations of these requirements, see “Penalties/Remedies” in this summary.
 
Indiana
 
No data No data
Iowa
 
[Note: The Iowa Civil Rights Commission considers harassment based on sex to be a form of prohibited discrimination under the fair employment practices law.]
 
No data
Kansas
 
No data No data
Kentucky
 
[Note: The Kentucky Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is prohibited by the fair employment practices law (Meyers v. Chapman Printing Co., 840 S.W.2d 814 (1992)).]
 
No data
Louisiana
 
No data No data
Maine
 
Harassment based on sex is prohibited. Sex includes pregnancy or related medical conditions.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors and comments, jokes, acts, or other verbal or physical conduct that is of a sexual nature or directed at employees based on their sex. Sexual harassment is unlawful when:• employees' submission to this conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of their employment;
• employees' submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions that affect them; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with employees' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment for them.

If employment opportunities or benefits are granted because of an employee's submission to an employer's sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, the employer can be liable for unlawful sex discrimination against other qualified employees who were denied those opportunities or benefits.
It is also unlawful for anyone to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce another person to commit sexual harassment; obstruct or prevent another person from complying with the sexual harassment prohibitions or any related orders; or try to commit these acts or other unlawful acts under the prohibitions.
The Maine Human Rights Commission advises employers to take steps to prevent unlawful sexual harassment, such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise the issue and how to raise it, and developing methods to sensitize all concerned parties.
 
At workplaces with 15 or more employees, employers must conduct training on sexual harassment prevention for all new employees within one year after their employment starts. This training must cover:• the illegality of sexual harassment;
• the definition of “sexual harassment” under Maine law and federal laws and regulations;
• a description of sexual harassment, using examples;
• the internal complaint process;
• the legal recourse and complaint process available through the Maine Human Rights Commission;
• directions on how to contact the commission; and
• protections against retaliation.

Employers must conduct additional training for supervisory and managerial employees within one year after their employment starts. At a minimum, this training must cover their specific responsibilities and measures they must take to ensure immediate, appropriate corrective action in response to sexual harassment complaints.
Employers must use a compliance checklist provided by the Maine Department of Labor to develop their training program.
 
Maryland
 
Fair employment practices law: Effective Oct. 1, 2019, employers can't engage in harassment of an employee, including harassment based on sex. [Note: The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights considers sexual harassment to be prohibited under the fair employment practices law.]
 
No state statutory or regulatory provisions apply generally to private-sector employment.
 
Massachusetts
 
Employers and their agents can't subject employees to sexual harassment. Employers must promote a workplace free of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or basis for employment decisions; or
• such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment.

 
Employers are encouraged to conduct an education and training program on sexual harassment prevention for new employees within one year after they start employment.
Employers also are encouraged to conduct additional training for new supervisory and managerial employees within one year after they start employment. This training should include their specific responsibilities and the procedures they should follow to ensure immediate, appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.
 
Michigan
 
Employers can't discriminate against employees and applicants based on sex. Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications of a sexual nature where:• submission to such conduct or communications is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition for obtaining employment;
• a person's submission to or rejection of such conduct or communications is used as a factor in decisions affecting the person's employment;
• such conduct or communications have the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a person's employment; or
• such conduct or communications have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

 
No data
Minnesota
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• interferes substantially with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

 
No data
Mississippi
 
No data No data
Missouri
 
Harassment based on sex is prohibited. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submission to this conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;
• employees' and applicants' submission to or rejection of this conduct is a basis for employment decisions that affect them; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with employees' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

In determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights looks at the nature of the sexual advances, the context of the conduct, and other circumstances.
 
No data
Montana
 
No data No data
Nebraska
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

 
No data
Nevada
 
Fair employment practices law: [Note: The Nevada Equal Rights Commission considers sexual harassment to be a form of sex discrimination.]
 
No state statutory or regulatory provisions apply generally to private-sector employment.
 
New Hampshire
 
Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if:• submission to this conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;
• submission to or rejection of this conduct is the basis of employment decisions; or
• this conduct unreasonably interferes with employees' work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Employers can't aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce anyone to engage in sexual harassment or try to do so. They also can't obstruct or prevent anyone's compliance with the sexual harassment prohibitions or related orders.
 
No data
New Jersey
 
[Note: New Jersey fair employment practices law prohibits harassment based sex, although sexual harassment isn't specifically mentioned in the law. According to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual relations, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when employers or their agents implicitly or explicitly try to make submission to sexual demands a condition of employment. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when employees are subject to sexual, abusive, or offensive conduct because of their gender and this conduct is severe or pervasive enough to make a reasonable person believe that employment conditions have changed and the working environment has become hostile or abusive; the conduct doesn't have to be sexual in nature and doesn't have to involve physical contact.]
Nondisclosure agreements (effective March 18, 2019): Any provision in an employment contract or settlement agreement that has the purpose or effect of concealing the details of a harassment claim is unenforceable against a current or former employee who is a party to the contract or agreement. Such provisions also are unenforceable against an employer if the current or former employee publicly reveals details of the claim that are sufficient to make the employer reasonably identifiable. Every settlement agreement resolving a harassment claim by an employee against an employer must comply with the notification requirements for such agreements (see “Notification Requirements” below). [Note: The fair employment practices law's provisions on nondisclosure agreements apply to contracts and agreements entered into, renewed, modified, or amended on or after March 18, 2019 (2019 N.J. Laws 39 (S.B.121), § 6). They don't prohibit employers from requiring employees to sign noncompetition agreements or agreements prohibiting employees from disclosing proprietary information (2019 N.J. Laws 39 (S.B.121), § 2).]
Waivers: Employers can't require employees and applicants to waive any of the protections provided by the fair employment practices law. Effective March 18, 2019, any provision in an employment contract that waives any substantive or procedural right or remedy regarding a harassment claim is unenforceable. Effective March 18, 2019, such rights and remedies under the fair employment practices law, or any other statute or case law, also can't be prospectively waived. [Note: The fair employment practices law's provisions on waivers apply to employment contracts entered into, renewed, modified, or amended on or after March 18, 2019, excluding collective bargaining agreements (2019 N.J. Laws 39 (S.B.121), §§ 1, 6).]
 
No data
New Mexico
 
Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment means unwanted or repeated physical or verbal acts that are sexual in nature, including sexual advances, sexual conduct, verbal or nonverbal sexual suggestions, sexual ridicule, or sexual innuendo for the purpose of affecting employees' status related to compensation or terms and conditions of employment.
 
No data
New York
 
Fair employment practices law: Sexual harassment of employees and applicants is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination. Effective Oct. 11, 2019, harassing conduct is unlawful when it subjects a person to inferior terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on membership in one or more protected classes, regardless of whether it is “severe or pervasive” as defined in legal precedent applied to harassment claims.
No person (as defined in N.Y. Exec. Law § 292) can aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce unlawful discriminatory acts or try to do so.
Interns: Employers can't subject interns to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of their employment;
• submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions that affect them; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with their work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Employers also can't subject interns to unwelcome harassment based on their sex, where this harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with their work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Interns are people who perform work for employers for training purposes under the following circumstances:• employers aren't committed to hire them at the end of their training period;
• they agree with employers that they aren't entitled to wages;
• their work provides or supplements training that might enhance their employability and provides experience for their benefit; and
• their work doesn't displace regular employees and is performed under the close supervision of existing staff.

Nonemployees: An employer can't permit the sexual harassment of nonemployees in its workplace.
 
Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis. Employers can use the New York State Department of Labor's model training program, or their own training program if it meets or exceeds the department's minimum standards. Effective August 12, 2019, employers must provide employees, at the time of hiring and at every annual training, with any information presented at the training in English and in each employee's specified primary language. If the state labor department does not have a template of the model training program in an employee's primary language, the employer may comply with this requirement by providing the information in English. Employers are not liable for errors or omissions in the non-English portion of the department's template.
The training program must be interactive and include:• an explanation of sexual harassment, consistent with department-issued guidance;
• examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
• information about federal and state laws regarding sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
• information about employees' right to pursue remedies for sexual harassment;
• information about all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints; and
• information addressing supervisors' conduct and responsibilities regarding sexual harassment.

[Note: All employees must complete initial sexual harassment prevention training before Oct. 9, 2019.]
 
North Carolina
 
No data No data
North Dakota
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• substantially interferes with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

 
No data
Ohio
 
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.
 
No data
Oklahoma
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to requests for sexual favors or sexual advances a term or condition of employment;
• unreasonably interferes with employees' work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Oklahoma Office of Civil Rights Enforcement considers the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature and context in which the alleged incidents occurred, on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment.
 
No data
Oregon
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• makes submission to or rejection of a sexual advance the basis of employment decisions; or
• is sufficiently severe or pervasive to cause unreasonable interference with work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The standard for determining whether sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment is whether a reasonable person would perceive the situation in the same way as the complaining employee.
Nondisclosure agreements (operative October 1, 2020) : For information about nondisclosure agreement restrictions that apply generally to prohibited discrimination under the fair employment practices law, including sexual assault, see “Types of Prohibited Discrimination” in Oregon Equal Employment Opportunity.
 
No data
Pennsylvania
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Human Relations Commission considers the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature and context in which the alleged incidents occurred, on a case-by-case basis in determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment.
 
No data
Puerto Rico
 
Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination. It can consist of any undesired sexual advances, demands for sexual favors or other verbal or physical behavior that is sexual in nature or conducted through any means of communication. Such conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when:• submission to the conduct becomes, implicitly or explicitly, a term or condition of employment;
• submission to or rejection of the conduct becomes the basis for employment decisions;
• the conduct interferes unreasonably with work performance; or
• the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 29, §§ 155, 155b
 
No data
Rhode Island
 
Fair employment practices law: Harassment based on sex violates the fair employment practices law. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• an individual's submission to such advances, requests, or conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment;
• an individual's submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions that affect them; or
• such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Employers should take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring, such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise and how to raise the subject, and developing methods to sensitize all relevant parties.
Workplace harassment law: Employers must promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment and must adopt a policy prohibiting sexual harassment (see “Employer Policy Requirements” in this summary). Sexual harassment is defined in the same manner as the fair employment practices law.
 
Workplace harassment law: Employers are encouraged to conduct an education and training program on sexual harassment prevention for new employees within one year after their employment starts. At a minimum, this program should provide the information that must be included in the required employer policy against sexual harassment.
Employers also are encouraged to conduct additional training for new supervisors and managers within one year after their employment starts. At a minimum, this training should:• provide the information that must be included in the required employer policy against sexual harassment;
• identify supervisors' and managers' specific responsibilities regarding sexual harassment; and
• identify the steps they should take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.

 
South Carolina
 
No data No data
South Dakota
 
No data No data
Tennessee
 
Fair employment practices law: [Note: The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is prohibited by the fair employment practices law (Campbell v. Fla. Steel Corp., 919 S.W.2d 26 (1996); Parker v. Warren Cnty. Util. Dist., 2 S.W.3d 170 (1999)). The Tennessee Human Rights Commission also considers harassment based on sex to be a form of prohibited discrimination under the law.]
Nondisclosure agreements: Employers can't require employees and applicants to enter into or renew nondisclosure agreements regarding workplace sexual harassment as a condition of employment. [Note: This prohibition applies to nondisclosure agreements entered into or renewed on or after May 15, 2018.]
 
No data
Texas
 
[Note: The Texas Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment of employees is prohibited by the fair employment practices law (Waffle House, Inc. v. Williams, 313 S.W.3d 796 (Tex. 2010)).]
Interns: Sexual harassment of unpaid interns is prohibited.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submission to such advances, requests, or conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of the internship;
• submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting the internship; or
• such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with interns' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Unpaid interns are interns:• whose internship is similar to training that would occur in an educational environment, even though it involves employer operations or performing work for employers;
• whose internship experience is for their own benefit;
• who don't displace regular employees, but work under the close supervision of existing staff;
• whose internship activities don't provide any immediate advantage to employers and occasionally might impede employer operations; and
• who aren't entitled to wages for time spent in their internship nor a job at the end of their internship.

 
No data
Utah
 
Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of discrimination. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submitting to this conduct is an explicit or implied term or condition of employment;
• submitting to or rejecting this conduct is a basis for employment decisions; or
• this conduct unreasonably interferes with employees' work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

 
No data
Vermont
 
Employers have an obligation to ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:• submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment;
• submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as a factor in employment decisions;
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with employees' work performance; or
• this conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Agreements and waivers: Employers can't require employees and applicants, as a condition of employment, to sign agreements or waivers that:• prohibit, prevent, or otherwise restrict them from opposing, disclosing, reporting, or participating in investigations of sexual harassment; or
• appear to waive substantive or procedural rights or remedies available to employees regarding sexual harassment claims, except as otherwise permitted by Vermont or federal law.

Provisions of these agreements or waivers are void and unenforceable.
Agreements to settle sexual harassment claims can't prohibit, prevent, or otherwise restrict employees from working for an employer or its parent company, subsidiary, division, or affiliate. These agreements must explicitly state that they don't waive any rights or claims arising after their execution date. The agreements also must explicitly state that they don't prohibit, prevent, or otherwise restrict employees who make sexual harassment claims from:• filing sexual harassment complaints with the Vermont attorney general's office, Vermont state's attorneys, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or other Vermont or federal agencies;
• testifying, assisting, or participating in sexual harassment investigations conducted by those agencies;
• complying with valid discovery requests related to civil litigation;
• testifying in hearings or trials related to sexual harassment claims if they are conducted by courts, pursuant to arbitration agreements, or before other appropriate tribunals; or
• exercising their right, under Vermont or federal labor relations laws, to engage in concerted activities with other employees for collective bargaining purposes and mutual aid or protection.

Provisions of these agreements are void and unenforceable for employees who make sexual harassment claims. An agreement to settle a sexual harassment claim can waive or release an employee's right to seek or obtain any remedies related to sexual harassment by another party if this harassment occurred before the agreement's execution date.
 
Employers are encouraged to conduct an education and training program on sexual harassment prevention for new employees within one year after their employment starts and for all employees annually. At a minimum, this program should cover the information outlined in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 495h.
Employers also are encouraged to conduct additional training for new supervisory and managerial employees within one year after their employment starts. At a minimum, this training should cover the information outlined in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 495h, their specific responsibilities, and actions they must take to ensure immediate, appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.
The Vermont attorney general's office can require employers to provide an education and training program on sexual harassment prevention to all employees annually for up to three years if it determines, after an inspection, that this program is necessary to ensure that their workplace is free from sexual harassment. Additionally or as an alternative, the attorney general can require these employers to conduct an anonymous working-climate survey annually for up to three years. (For information on inspections, see “Administration/Enforcement.”) At a minimum, the program:• for all employees must cover the information outlined in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 495h; and
• for supervisory and managerial employees must cover the information outlined in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 495h, their specific responsibilities, and actions they must take to ensure immediate, appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.

 
Virginia
 
No data No data
Washington
 
Fair employment practices law: [Note: The Washington Supreme Court has held that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under the fair employment practices law (Glasgow v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 693 P.2d 708 (Wash. 1985)). The Washington State Human Rights Commission also considers sexual harassment to be a form of prohibited discrimination under the fair employment practices law.]
Isolated employees: Effective July 28, 2019, covered employers (except for contracted security guard companies) must provide a panic button to each isolated employee. A panic button is an emergency contact device carried by an employee that can be used to summon immediate on-site assistance from another employee, security guard, or representative of the employer. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries will publish guidance for employers with fifty or fewer employees to assist them in complying with the law. [Note: Covered hotels and motels with sixty or more rooms must comply with these provisions by Jan. 1, 2020. All other covered employers must comply with the provisions by Jan. 1, 2021.]
 
Fair employment practices law: Isolated employees: Effective July 28, 2019, covered employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to managers, supervisors, and employees to:• prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace;
• prevent sex discrimination in the workplace; and
• educate the workforce regarding protections for employees who report violations of state or federal law.

[Note: Covered hotels and motels with sixty or more rooms must comply with these provisions by Jan. 1, 2020. All other covered employers must comply with the provisions by Jan. 1, 2021.]
 
West Virginia
 
Conduct is deemed to be unlawful sexual harassment when it:• makes submission to a request for sexual favors or a sexual advance a term or condition of employment;
• unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance; or
• creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

The Human Rights Commission considers the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature and context in which the alleged incidents occurred, on a case-by-case basis in determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment.
The commission also examines whether the sexual harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive, including whether it involved:• unwanted physical touching,
• offensive or threatening verbal abuse, and
• unwelcome and consistent sexual innuendo or physical contact.

The frequency of unwelcome and offensive encounters is also taken into account, as well as whether other employees suffered harassment.
Hostile or physically aggressive behavior that includes unwanted sexual conduct also can be considered sexual harassment if it was a form of gender-based discrimination.
 
No data
Wisconsin
 
Employers and their agents, including managers and supervisors, are prohibited from sexually harassing employees and applicants. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct that involves sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, physical contact of a sexual nature or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; it includes conduct directed by a person at another person of the same or opposite sex.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes:• implicitly or explicitly making submission to sexual harassment a term or condition of employment;
• making employment decisions based in any part on employees' submission to or rejection of sexual harassment;
• permitting sexual harassment that interferes substantially with employees' work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; and
• unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at employees because of their gender that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or interferes substantially with such employees' work performance.

Sexual harassment interferes substantially with employees' work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment if a reasonable person would consider the conduct sufficiently severe or pervasive.
 
No data
Wyoming
 
No data No data
Source: Bloomberg Law

 

Please note NCSL cannot provide advice or assistance to private citizens or businesses regarding employment-related matters. Please consult your state department of labor or a private attorney.

Additional Resources