Sexual Harassment Laws in All 50 States

Category: Info
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 10-28-2018 06:17 AM
Views: 462
Synopsis: This state by state comparison of sexual harassment laws lists how each state's sexual harassment law differs from Federal.

State by State Sexual Harassment Law

 

Sexual harassment law can be confusing.  There’s federal law and then state and sometimes even more laws in counties and municipalities.  We put together a list of the laws in every state that differ significantly from federal law to help make it easier for you.

 


Alabama 


 

Alabama Sexual Harassment Law

  • Alabama has no anti-harassment laws, so sexual harassment cases are handled by the EEOC office in Birmingham. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Alaska


 

Alaska

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited in Alaska as part of the Alaska Human Rights Law.
  • Alaska state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Alaska protects state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Employees in Alaskan workplaces should be apprised of their right to file a claim with the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights.

 

 

 


Arkansas


Arkansas sexual harassment law

  • Arkansas has no sexual harassment laws, so cases are investigated by the EEOC under federal law.
  • Federal law only applies to organizations with 15 or more employees, so employees in smaller companies are not covered by EEOC protections in Arkansas.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona


 

The Arizona Civil Rights Act protects Arizona employees from sexual harassment.  The Act has the same provisions as Sexual harassment laws in Arizonafederal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and Arizona courts often look to federal precedent when deciding their cases.

 

  • Arizona protects state government employees based on sexual orientation. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)

 

  • Employees should be advised of their right to file a sexual harassment claim with the Arizona Civil Rights Division or the EEOC.

 

 


California


 

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects California employees from sexual harassment.

The state of California

  • California sexual harassment law protects both independent contractors and unpaid interns.
  • California law allows harassers to be held personally responsible in court. (Federal law only allows employers to be named in a lawsuit.)
  • California harassment law has no caps on punitive and compensatory damages in court.  (Federal law starts at a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • California mandates 2-hours of sexual harassment training for all supervisors in companies of 50 or more employees every two years. 
  • California protects employees from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations and requires supervisors to be trained on the subject as part of mandatory sexual harassment training. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in California should be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within 365 days.  California law provides more protections for employees than federal law, however, employees also have the right to file with the EEOC.  Filing with the EEOC is recommended in only rare circumstances.

 


Colorado


 

Sexual harassment laws in Colorado

  • The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment in Colorado workplaces.
  • Colorado state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.) 
  • Colorado law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Colorado workplaces should be apprised of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Connecticut


 

Sexual harassment laws in Connecticut

  • The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) prohibits sexual harassment in Connecticut workplaces.
  • Connecticut requires 2 hours of training for supervisors and suggests refresher training every three years.
  • Connecticut protects unpaid interns by law. (Federal law only protects unpaid interns if they receive compensation such as insurance or a pension.) 
  • Connecticut law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Connecticut employees should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Activities or the EEOC.

 


Delaware


 

Sexual harassment law in Delaware

  • Sexual harassment in Delaware workplaces is prohibited by the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA).
  • Delaware law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Delaware law protects state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on gender identity.
  • Delaware employees should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with the Delaware Office of Human Relations or the EEOC.

 


The District of Columbia


 

  • The District of Columbia Human Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment as sex discrimination.
  • District of Columbia sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • In the District of Columbia, supervisors can be held personally liable for sexual harassment. (Under federal law, only the employers can be held liable in course for harassment.)
  • Unpaid interns are protected by sexual harassment law in the District of Columbia.  (Federal law only protects unpaid interns if they receive significant compensation from benefits like insurance or pensions.) 
  • District of Columbia law protects all public and private employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights or the EEOC.

 


Florida


 

  • The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits employment harassment based on sex.  Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination.
  • Florida requires supervisors in executive branch agencies to receive sexual harassment training.
  • Employees in Florida workplaces should be apprised of their right to file a sexual harassment claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or the EEOC.

 

 

 

 

 


Georgia


 

The state of Georgia

  • Georgia’s Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.
  • Employees in Georgia should be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Labor or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hawaii



  • The Hawaii Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace in Hawaii.Hawaii state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Hawaii law does not limit judgments in sexual harassment lawsuits. (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000) 
  • Hawaii law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Hawaii should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 

The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission advises employers to train both supervisors and non-supervisors on sexual harassment.

 


Idaho


 

  • The Idaho Human Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in Idaho workplaces.
  • Idaho state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 5 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Employees in Idaho must be informed of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Idaho Commission on Human Rights or the EEOC.

 

 

 

 


Illinois


 

The state of Illinois

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited in Illinois through the Illinois Human Rights Act.
  • Illinois state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Illinois protects unpaid interns from sexual harassment as part of the Act. (Federal law does not cover unpaid interns unless they receive significant compensation from benefits like insurance or pensions.)
  • Illinois law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Illinois requires that every state government employee receive training on sexual harassment policy and prevention.  This training must be included as a component of all ongoing and new employee training programs.
  • Employees in Indiana should be informed of their right to file a claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or the EEOC.

 


Indiana


 

Indiana

  • The Indiana Civil Rights Law prohibits sexual harassment in Indiana workplaces.
  • The law applies to employers with 6 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Indiana law protects all state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Indiana workplaces should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Iowa


 

Iowa

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited in Iowa by The Iowa Civil Rights Act. 
  • The Act applies to businesses with 4 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • In Iowa, both supervisors and non-supervisors can be named personally in sexual harassment claims.  (Federal law only allows employers to be named.) 
  • Iowa law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Iowa requires sexual harassment training of every supervisor and manager in the executive branch of state government.
  • Employees in Iowa should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Kansas


 

Kansas

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited as sex discrimination by the Kansas Act Against Discrimination.
  • The law applies to employers with 5 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Kansas law protects all state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Kansas workplaces should be informed of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Kansas Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Kentucky


 

Kentucky

  • The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in Kentucky workplaces.
  • The law applies to employers with 8 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.
  • Kentucky law protects all state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Kentucky employees must be informed of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights or the EEOC.

 


Maine


 

  • Sexual harassment in Maine is prohibited by The Maine Human Rights Act.
  • Maine state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Maine requires all employers with 15 or more employees to conduct sexual harassment training for all employees within 1 year of hire.  Records of this training must be kept for 3 years.  This training has specific requirements.
  • Maine law mandates that employers post a sexual harassment poster in a prominent location in the workplace.
  • Maine requires employers to provide written notice about sexual harassment law annually.

 

The specific requirements of Maine law on posters, notices and training can be found here.

 

  • Maine law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in the state of Maine should be informed of their right to file a claim with the Maine Human Rights Commission.

 


Maryland


 

Maryland

  • Sexual Harassment in Maryland workplaces is prohibited by the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act .
  • The number of employees for sexual harassment law to apply to an employer varies by county. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Maryland Law protects unpaid interns; however, the law does not allow for monetary remedies. (Federal law does not protect unpaid interns unless they receive compensation via insurance or pensions.)
  • Employees must be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations or the EEOC.

 

While Maryland does not mandate sexual harassment training, the Maryland Commission on Human Relations advises that employee training is a positive factor for employers when the commission analyzes liability in harassment complaints.

 


Massachusetts


 

  • The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) prohibits sexual harassment in Massachusetts.Massachusetts sexual harassment law
  • The Act covers all public and private employers with 6 or more employers.  (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Massachusetts law allows supervisors to be held personally responsible when they commit acts of harassment.  (Federal law does not hold individuals responsible for harassment, only employers.)
  • Massachusetts law requires all employers to adopt a sexual harassment policy and has provided a model policy.
  • In Massachusetts, there are no caps on judgments in sexual harassment suits. (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000) 
  • Massachusetts law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Massachusetts’ workplaces should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

 

Massachusetts state requirements from the mass.gov website.

 

Massachusetts law encourages employers to provide training for both supervisory and non-supervisory employees in both new hire and ongoing training programs.

 


Michigan


 

  • The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in Michigan.
  • Michigan state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Under Michigan law, supervisors who are harassers can be personally named in harassment suits. (Under federal law only employers can be found personally liable in court.) 
  • Michigan law protects all state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Michigan employees should be informed of the right to file a sexual harassment Claim with the Michigan Department of Human Rights or the EEOC.

 


Minnesota


  • Sexual harassment is prohibited in Minnesota law by the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
  • Minnesota state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Under Minnesota law, supervisors can be held personally liable for harassment. (Under Federal law only employers can be found personally liable for harassment) 
  • Minnesota law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Minnesota should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with The Michigan Department of Civil Rights or the EEOC.

 


Missouri


 

Missouri

  • The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits sexual harassment in Missouri.
  • The law applies to all employers with 6 or more employees. (Federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.)
  • Missouri protects executive branch employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Employees in Missouri workplaces should be informed of their right to file a harassment claim with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

 


Mississippi


Mississippi

  • Mississippi has no sexual harassment law, so all harassment claims go through the EEOC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Montana


 

Montana

  • The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment and includes sexual harassment.
  • Montana state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • In Montana, supervisors can be held personally responsible for sexual harassment in court.  (Federal law only allows the employer to be named in court.)
  • Montana protects state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Employees in Montana should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau or the EEOC.

 

Sexual harassment guidance at the Montana state website.

 


Nebraska


 

Nebraska

  • Sexual Harassment is prohibited in Nebraska by The Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA).
  • Like Federal law, Nebraska sexual harassment law covers employers with 15 or more employers. 
  • Employees in Nebraska workplaces should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission or the EEOC.

 


New Hampshire


 

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited based on sex by The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination.
  • New Hampshire law applies to employers with 6 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • New Hampshire law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Employees in New Hampshire should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights.

 


New Jersey


 

  • The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits sexual harassment in New Jersey.
  • New Jersey state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • New Jersey law does not cap monetary judgments for plaintiffs in court. (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • New Jersey law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in New Jersey should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights or the EEOC.

 

Sexual harassment definitions and guidance from the New Jersey Civil Rights Division.

 

The state of New Jersey does not have required sexual harassment training, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court provided an analysis of what policies and procedures companies needed to undertake to avoid or lessen liability in sexual harassment cases in their ruling in Gaines v. Bellino, 801 A.2d 322 (N.J. 2002).  The court included sexual harassment training for supervisors and added the importance of training for all employees.  Guidance from the Supreme Court is used in decisions by the Division on Civil Rights and by lower courts in sexual harassment cases.  Therefore, although training is not mandated it is highly recommended for companies who wish to lessen their liability in sexual harassment litigation.

 


New Mexico


 

  • The New Mexico Human Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the state’s workplaces.New Mexico sexual harassment law
  • In New Mexico, victims can name a supervisor personally in a sexual harassment claim. (Federal law only allows employers to be named in a lawsuit.) 
  • New Mexico law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • New Mexico requires all licensed personnel in primary and secondary schools to receive sexual harassment training once a year.
  • New Mexico employees should be apprised of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the New Mexico Department of Workplace Solutions or the EEOC.

 


New York


 

  • The New York Human Rights Law prohibits sexual harassment in New York state.
  • Sexual harassment law in New York applies to all employers. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • New York employers are required to develop a sexual harassment policy.
  • New York state law protects unpaid interns from sexual harassment. (Federal only protects unpaid interns if they receive significant compensation from another source such as insurance or pensions.
  • Beginning Oct 9th, 2018, New York state will require all employers with 1 employee or more to conduct sexual harassment training.
  • Employees in the state of New York must be informed of their right to file a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights.

 


North Carolina


 

  • The North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Carolina's state anti-discrimination law does not allow for lawsuits; however, a North Carolina citizen can file a “public policy” claim in court based on North Carolina sexual harassment law against employers with any number of employees.  Citizens of North Carolina can file a complaint with the EEOC.
  • North Carolina requires sexual harassment training for all state government employees.
  • Employees in North Carolina should be told of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the North Carolina Human Relations Division.

 


North Dakota


North Dakota

  • The North Dakota Human Rights Act specifically lists sexual harassment in its definition of discrimination based on sex.
  • North Dakota state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights or the EEOC.

 

Sexual harassment fact sheet published by the North Dakota Department of Labor.

 


Ohio


Ohio

  • The Ohio Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in Ohio workplaces.
  • Ohio law applies to public and private employers with 4 or more employees.
  • Under Ohio law there are no monetary caps for successful sexual harassment cases. ((Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • Ohio law makes it illegal to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a person into committing an illegal act of sexual harassment or any other discriminatory practice or to obstruct an investigation.  (Federal law does not have an aiding and abetting provision.) 
  • Ohio law protects state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Employees in Ohio should be informed of their right to file a complaint with The Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 

Although Ohio law does not require sexual harassment training, the Ohio Administrative code advises that employers express strong disapproval of sexual harassment, educate employees on complaint procedures, and develop methods to sensitize all employees on illegal sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment training is the most effective way to follow this guidance.

 


Oklahoma


 

  • The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace in Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Oklahoma requires sexual harassment training for supervisory employees in state government who investigate harassment complaints.
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a harassment complaint with The Oklahoma State Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Oregon


 

Oregon

  • Sexual harassment is prohibited in Oregon by The Oregon Fair Employment Practice Act.
  • Oregon state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Oregon law covers unpaid interns. (Federal law only covers unpaid interns if they receive significant compensation from benefits like insurance or pensions. 
  • Oregon law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • In Oregon, the law has no caps for sexual harassment judgements in court.  (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • Employees in Oregon should be informed of their right to file a harassment complaint with the State of Oregon Civil Rights Division or the EEOC.

 


Pennsylvania


 

Pennsylvania

  • The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace in Pennsylvania.
  • The law applies to organizations with 4 or more employees. (Federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.)
  • Pennsylvania law protects state government employees from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Pennsylvania requires all state government employees to receive sexual harassment training.
  • Employees in Pennsylvania should be informed of their right to file a complaint with The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the EEOC.

 

Several pieces of legislation are being discussed in the Pennsylvania state legislature that could mandate sexual harassment training for every employee in the state. Current law stops short of requiring training, however, the law states that employers should take steps to discuss sexual harassment with employees, detail employee rights under the law (Including the right to file a complaint with their employer, the Pennsylvania Human Relations commission or the EEOC.) and to sensitize all employees about sexual harassment.  The most effective way to accomplish this is through sexual harassment training.

 


Rhode Island


 

  • The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace in Rhode Island.
  • Rhode Island law applies to employers who employ 4 or more employees.
  • Rhode Island law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Every employer with 50 or more employees must create and disseminate a sexual harassment policy with content mandated by the state.
  • Rhode Island requires sexual harassment training for state employees once a year.
  • Rhode Island employees should be informed of their right to file a claim with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights or the EEOC.

 

While Rhode Island stops short of mandating training, the state encourages training both supervisory and non-supervisory employees within one year of hire on the content of the Rhode Island Commission on Human Right’s Guidelines for Sexual Harassment.

 


South Dakota


 

South Dakota

  • The South Dakota Human Relations Act prohibits harassment based on sex discrimination.
  • South Dakota state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a complaint with the South Dakota Division of Human Rights and the EEOC.

 

Definitions, guidance and a sample sexual harassment policy for South Dakota employers by the South Dakota Division of Human Rights.

 


Tennessee


  • Sexual harassment is prohibited based on sex discrimination in The Tennessee Human Rights Act.
  • Tennessee law applies to employers with 8 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Tennessee state government employees are required to receive sexual harassment training and the state Department of Personnel has been tasked with providing training assistance, planning and workshops.
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Texas


 

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act was codified under Labor Code Chapter 21 and prohibits sexual harassment in Texas workplaces.  Texas law is almost identical to federal law and even states that its purpose is to executive federal anti-discrimination laws.Texas sexual harassment law

 

  • All state government supervisory and non-supervisory personnel in Texas are required to receive sexual harassment training within their first 30 days on the job and receive refresher training every three years.
  • Texas Law protects unpaid interns from sexual harassment. House Bill 1151.  (Federal law does not protect unpaid interns unless they are paid in other manner from wages; such as, insurance or pensions. 
  • Employees should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with The Texas Workforce Commission Civil
  • Rights Division or the EEOC.

 


Utah


 

UtahThe Utah Anti-discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment in Utah Workplaces.

 

  • Utah law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees…the same as federal law.
  • All state government employees must receive sexual harassment training approved by the Utah Department of Human Resource Management and Risk Management. Employees must receive this training within 90 days of their date of hire and must receive refresher training every three years.
  • Utah employees should be advised for their right to file a harassment complaint with the Utah Anti-discrimination and Labor Division or the EEOC.  Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the harassment.

 


Vermont


 

VermontOn July 1st, 2018 Bill H707 goes into effect bringing Vermont’s employee protections and preventative efforts to among the best in the country.  The Act entitled “An Act Relating to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment” adds expanded employee coverage and a slew of new of new requirements for employers to the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act.

 

Most of the provisions in Vermont law are not much different than federal law, but Vermont requires a lot of what the EEOC strongly suggests and expands on the Number of employees covered by federal sexual harassment law.

 

The following are the Vermont provisions not in federal law.

 

In Bill H707 (2018)

 

  • Vermont law now covers independent contractors and unpaid interns. (Federal law does not cover either in most situations.)
  • Pre-employment contracts now cannot include provisions that take away the right to report harassment.  These contracts were already unenforceable but may have deterred employees from reporting harassment.
  • Sexual harassment settlements now cannot prohibit the victim from working for the organization again.  This provision is common in settlement agreements throughout the country.
  • The Attorney General and the Vermont Human Rights Commission now have the right to enter and inspect workplaces and records related to sexual harassment to ensure the law is followed.  If deficiencies are found, sexual harassment training or other methods may be used as a remedy.
  • An online portal will for complaints will be completed by December 15th, 2018.  This portal should result in a smoother process for receiving, reviewing, and responding to complaints.

 

Provisions in pre-existing Vermont sexual harassment laws that differ from federal law.

 

  • The state’s sexual harassment law applies to organizations with 1 or more employees covering every worker in the state. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Vermont state law allows harassers to be named personally in a sexual harassment suit.  (Only employers can be named under federal law.)
  • In Vermont, successful court judgments in sexual harassment suits are not capped.  Victims can be awarded an unlimited amount of money in a suit.  (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • Vermont law requires employers to adopt a harassment policy with specific guidelines, give the policy in writing to every employee, and post the policy in a prominent location in the workplace. (EEOC guidelines only “encourage” employers to adopt a policy that is “clearly and regularly” communicated employees.)
  • Vermont law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Vermont requires employers with 5 or more employees to explain the process of complaints and the contact information to file complaints. (The EEOC “encourages” employers to explain the process of complaints.)
  • Employees of private companies should be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office or the EEOC.
  • Employees of public companies should be informed of their right to file a claim to the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 

State of Vermont Guide on Sexual Harassment.

 

Guidance from the state of Vermont includes training every employee on sexual harassment in the first year of employment and specific training for supervisors who take and respond to complaints.  While training isn’t required, this guidance is encouraged by both Vermont and federal law.  When an employer faces a sexual harassment suit, training is a critical factor in a legal defense. A training program for all employees helps prove the employer is serious about preventing sexual harassment and in cases of hostile environment harassment may help avoid or mitigate liability.

 


Virginia


Virginia

  • The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits sexual harassment in the state of Virginia’s workplaces.
  • Virginia sexual harassment law applies to employers with 6 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Employees should be informed of their right to file a complaint with The Virginia Council on Human Rights (within 180 days) or with the EEOC.

 


Washington


 

On June 7th, 2018 several new sexual harassment laws went into effect that solidified Washington as a leader in the country for sexual harassment prevention.

State of Washington sexual harassment law

SB5996 and SB6313 took aim at pre-employment agreements.

 

  • SB5996 bans non-disclosure agreements that are a condition of employment and prevent disclosure of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurs in the workplace or at work related activities or events.  Confidentiality agreements that are part of a legal settlement are still legal.
  • SB6313 makes illegal to make employees sign away their rights regarding sexual harassment.  Any agreement that bars an employee from filing a complaint with the Washington Human Rights Commission, EEOC, or any other appropriate state or federal agency is now illegal.  This law makes pre-employment agreements that require employees to settle sexual harassment claims in a confidential dispute resolution process illegal.
  • Washington also passed a law came into effect June 7, 2018 that requires the Washington Human Rights Commission to create and publish model sexual harassment policies and best practices to prevent sexual harassment.

 

Like every state, most of the law in Washington was derived from federal law and even with the additions Washington has made, the law is still mostly identical to its federal counterpart.  The Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits sexual harassment in the state and even before the recent legal additions, Washington was already considered one of the most progressive states in its harassment prevention strategies.  Despite, the similarities, the WLAD has broader coverage than federal law.

 

Aspects of Washington law that differs from federal law.

 

  • Washington law applies to employers with 8 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • The state of Washington extends independent contractors the same protection as employees.  (Federal law does not protect independent contractors)
  • The state of Washington includes unpaid interns in their protections. (Federal law only applies to unpaid interns if they receive substantial compensation from benefits like pension and insurance.
  • Washington law allows supervisors to be held personally responsible in court for harassment.  (Federal law only allows employers to be named in court.) 
  • Washington law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation and gender identity as protected groups.)
  • Washington mandates sexual harassment training for all state government employees by executive order and requires contractors who do business with the state to conduct training as well.
  • Employees in Washington can file sexual harassment claims with the Washington Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 

While Washington doesn’t explicitly mandate sexual harassment training, training is encouraged and listed as a vital part of harassment prevention.  The EEOC lists training as one its five core principles of sexual harassment prevention.  Organizations who conduct training not only prevent more harassment, they may avoid liability or limit damages in a lawsuit based on hostile environment harassment.

 


West Virginia


West Virginia

  • The West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in West Virginia workplaces.
  • West Virginia law applies to employers with 12 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • West Virginia law does not limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in a sexual harassment lawsuit.  (Federal law starts with a $50,000 cap for employers with 15-100 employees and caps larger companies with 500 or more employees at $300,000)
  • Employees in West Virginia should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with The West Virginia Human Rights Commission or the EEOC.

 


Wisconsin


Wisconsin

  • The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits sexual harassment based on sex discrimination.
  • Wisconsin state sexual harassment law applies to employers with 1 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Wisconsin law protects all public and private employees in the state from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation with an exemption for religious organizations. (The EEOC protects LGBT employees through its interpretation of sex discrimination in Title VII, however federal law does not specifically name sexual orientation as a protected group.)
  • Employees in Wisconsin should be apprised of their right to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division or the EEOC.

 

Sexual harassment information section of the Wisconsin Civil Rights Bureau.

 

Although Wisconsin law stops short of requiring sexual harassment training, it recommends training for all employees along with periodic reminders about harassment.  Guidance in state law is a huge consideration when determining employer liability in court and by the Wisconsin Office of Civil Rights in investigations.  Therefore, any company who wishes to avoid or lessen liability should provide sexual harassment training for its employees.

 


Wyoming


Wyoming

  • The Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits workplace sexual harassment in Wyoming
  • Wyoming law applies to employers with 2 or more employees. (Federal law applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.)
  • Employees should be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Wyoming Department of Employment Labor Standards or the EEOC.  Only the Department of Employment Labor Standards can file litigation in state courts on behalf of the harassed employee, so many victims of harassment file through the EEOC and federal courts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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