The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the Federal agency that enforces this Act.The EEOC receives and investigates complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.The Employment and Industrial Relations Act lays down that: “It shall not be lawful for an employer or an employee to harass another employee or to harass the employer by subjecting such person to any unwelcome act, request or conduct, including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material, which, in respect of that person, is based on sexual discrimination and which could reasonably be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating to such person.” This is a very open definition of what sexual harassment is.Fully aware of the creativity of human nature, the rationale behind such an open definition is not to exclude other acts that also amount to sexual behaviour.Thus, the perpetrator keeps on with his sexually demeaning ways to the detriment of present and future victims.
Sexual harassment is degrading and demeaning and, more often than not, the victims feel ashamed to speak out about it and to report such behaviour.
It is given a wider definition so that any kind of behaviour can fall within the ambit of the definition of harassment as long as it causes distress to the victim and is done over a period of time.
Therefore, a rare action does not amount to harassment and the perpetrator ought to know that his behaviour was causing distress to the victim.
Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment are when a supervisor threatens to fire an employee who does not submit to sexual advances or where a supervisor promises to promote an employee in exchange for sexual favors.
Hostile work environment sexual harassment refers to situations where the employee's work environment is made intimidating, hostile, or offensive due to the unwelcome sexual conduct and the conduct unreasonably interferes with the employee's work performance.