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Same Sex Harassment Can Be Discriminatory Under Title VII

Author: Lisa Pierson Weinberger, Mom, Esq.

In Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, +523 U.S. 75 (1998), the United States Supreme Court addressed whether same sex harassment constitutes unlawful discrimination under Title VII.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual for a variety of reasons, including his or her sex. The law does not specify whether the term sex is intended to protect men as well as women or whether sex discrimination must occur between members of the opposite sex in order to violate the law.

In this case, the Court considered whether Title VII claims of sex discrimination may be brought when the accuser and the accused are the same gender.