No, though they are related. Sexual harassment can escalate to sexual assault, but can also occur without a sexual assault. Sexual harassment is any harassment of a person because of that person’s sex that occurs in the workplace. Harassment may occur in the form of offensive remarks about a person’s sex. It could also be unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal remarks of a sexual nature, such as offensive remarks about one’s appearance. Sexual harassment can become sexual assault if the harasser’s words or actions put the victim in fear or apprehension of unauthorized physical contact. Unwanted touching or other sexual assaults that occur in the workplace are also types of sexual harassment. The harasser and the victim can be male, or female, or the same sex. The harasser can be a boss, a supervisor, a co-worker, a client, or a customer. Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination, and it is against the law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws about discrimination, including sexual harassment. Individuals subjected to sexual harassment at the office may have a claim for sex discrimination against their employer. Just like sexual assault, sexual harassment claims can also be brought in civil court against the harasser.
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