Same-gender sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination that is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII. Same-gender sexual harassment involves the unwanted sexual advances on an employee by a member of the same gender. There are special provisions under recent amendments to Title VII which stipulate guidelines for same-gender sexual harassment claims. In addition to unwanted advances, same-gender sexual harassment may also include demeaning slurs with regard to the victim’s sexual orientation.
As Title VII guarantees equal fair employment rights to all Americans, there are special provisions included under sexual harassment laws which protect gay Americans from workplace discrimination. If a co-worker or supervisor uses inflammatory language or makes derogatory statements about a same-gender homosexual employee based on his or her sexual orientation, this is considered harassment.
Derogatory or harassing statements or slurs targeting an employee’s sexual orientation are grounds for consideration of a hostile work environment and constitute violations of Federal law.
For example, a police officer in New York sued the NYPD for $3.1 million based on a sexual harassment same-gender claim. Though the fellow officers did not make unwanted advances towards the victim, they were found to have repeatedly harassed him for his sexual orientation, and thus, were guilty of creating a hostile working environment which prevented him from doing his job as police officer.
Same gender sexual harassment also follows conventional guidelines for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual advances on an employee by a member of his or her same gender are treated as sexual harassment regardless of the employee’s own sexual orientation. While such charges may be made, it is important to note that threats of homosexual activity do not alone constitute a hostile work environment.
The courts use a common-sense approach for same-sex sexual harassment cases to determine whether or not the “advances” in question are legitimate. It is important to note that in such cases of unwanted advances, the sexual orientation of either party is not part of the investigation.
A heterosexual man may be charged with same-gender sexual harassment for threatening homosexual activity in the workplace regardless of his actual orientation. The common sense standard thus allows the court to determine whether or not his advance was in jest and not based on testimony alone. Investigation into a person’s sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII cases.