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Sexual Harassment as Sex Discrimination

Female minister sues denominational agency for sexual harassment.

Key point. Sexual harassment is a form of "sex discrimination" prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and by several state laws. It occurs when (1) an employee's job or other privileges of employment are conditioned upon submitting to sexual demands, or (2) an employee is exposed to a "hostile work environment" involving unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim's employment and create an abusive working environment.
Key point. Title VII only applies to employers that (1) have 15 or more employees, and (2) are engaged in interstate commerce. Accordingly, it does not apply to most churches (it does apply to many denominational agencies engaged in interstate sales).
• Key point. Title VII does not apply to most churches. However, most states have enacted their own ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • January 1, 1997

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