In a Nutshell
- Harassment is illegal under both federal and state law, and associations have a legal responsibility to maintain an environment free from harassment.
- Associations need carefully crafted anti-harassment policies for both employees and volunteer leaders to fulfill its legal obligation to maintain a harassment free environment, and reduce liability.
- Associations should conduct regular sexual harassment prevention training for employees and volunteers leaders.
Nuts & Bolts
Under Federal law, workplace harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and is defined as unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender/gender identity, nationality, age (40 or over), physical or mental disability, or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful when the conduct becomes so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would consider the workplace intimidating, hostile or abusive. Harassment is also unlawful when the conduct becomes a prerequisite to maintaining an individual’s employment or results in a change, either positive or negative, to an employee’s position, salary or terms of employment.