sexual harassment

noun

: uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (such as an employee or student)

Word History

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sexual harassment was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near sexual harassment

Cite this Entry

“Sexual harassment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexual%20harassment. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sexual harassment

noun
: uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student)

Legal Definition

sexual harassment

noun
: employment discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at an employee because of his or her sex
also : the tort of engaging in such discrimination see also hostile environment sexual harassment, quid pro quo sexual harassment

Note: Sexual harassment has been found by federal courts to violate the protection in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against discrimination in employment. There are also state statutes under which sexual harassment actions may be brought. In order to recover against an employer under a sexual harassment suit, the plaintiff has to show that the harassment affected the employment (as by being severe or pervasive) and that the employer is liable under respondeat superior because of actual or constructive knowledge of the harassment. Strict liability is often imposed for harassment of an employee by a supervisor or for quid pro quo sexual harassment.

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