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Sexual orientation harassment: What are your rights?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Workplace Harassment

Sexual orientation harassment is a serious issue that can take many forms. Name-calling, offensive comments or jokes, homophobic slurs, unwelcome touching or sexual gestures are not acceptable behaviors in the workplace or at school.

Federal and state laws prohibit harassment based on sexual orientation.


Harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct creates a hostile environment, making it difficult for you to perform your job or continue your education. Offensive statements and any form of unwarranted attention related to sexual orientation is harassment. According to a survey, 45.5% of LGBTQ+ workers said they received unfair treatment at work at some point in their careers because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Reporting an incident

The law requires employers and educational institutions to maintain a safe and discrimination-free environment. If you find yourself a victim of sexual orientation harassment, report the incident promptly. Inform a supervisor, teacher or another appropriate authority figure about the harassment issue.

  • School policies:Familiarize yourself with your school’s anti-harassment guidelines and procedures. If the harassment persists, take the matter to higher authorities within the educational institution.
  • Workplace protections:Tell a supervisor the problems you are experiencing during the workday. Employers must address and rectify instances of harassment right away.

If your boss or school administrator fails to take appropriate action, consider taking legal action.

Legal remedies

You have options for legal recourse if harassment persists after you report it. You may file a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. File within six months of the incident. The Commission will investigate the claim and, if necessary, take appropriate action to rectify the situation.

Other courses of action include filing a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or filing a lawsuit in state or federal court.

Knowing your legal rights and taking the necessary steps to address a harassment issue ensures a safe and respectful work or school environment for you and others.