Overview of Sexual Harassment under Nevada law

 

In Nevada, as in many other states, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and can also be a crime.  It violates US law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Nevada State law.

Fedaral law

The federal suit is activated by an investigation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if the activity occurs in a place with more than 15 employees.  A “complaint needs to be filed with the EEOC soon after the most recent incident of harassment (no longer than 300 days) at which point this agency will start an investigation.  This action needs to be taken before the case can be filed in Federal Court.

The EEOC has two categories of sexual harassment, quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

 

Quid Pro Quo

This means that something is given for something in return.  A person can be told, for instance, that they would be more likely to be promoted if they granted their immediate superior sexual favors.  Conversely, if an employee rejects sexual advances from a boss or superior and suddenly loses their job or is demoted  they have possibly suffered from sexual harassment.

 

Hostile Workplace

The other form of harassment is a “hostile workplace”. In a hostile workplace occurs when unwelcome verbal or physical conduct unreasonably interferes with the victim’s ability to do his/her job or creates an offensive or intimidating environment on the job.

 

Nevada State Law

The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature “…that explicitly or implicitly affects and individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance of creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment”

Victims:  The NERC states that the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.  A victim also is not always the person being harassed, but could be anyone affected by the hostile workplace.

Harasser:  Their conduct must be unwelcome and they can be the victim’s immediate supervisor, a supervisor from another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.  In Nevada some of the harassment claims have arisen from employees complaints against casino customers.

Complainant is protected by state and federal law against any retaliation.

 

CRIMINAL LAW

Sexual harassment can rise to the level of a crime under the criminal statutes in Nevada. Below is a list of three criminal offenses that can be sexual harassment.

Peering, peeping or spying into a dwelling. NRS 200.603:

It is a crime to knowingly go to a person's residence in order to secretly peer, peep, or spy on them through a window or other opening. An example of peeping as sexual harassment is looking through a bathroom keyhole at someone else undress.

 

Stalking, NRS 200.575:

Stalking is trying to force contact or communication with someone while willfully causing him/her to feel scared for the safety of him/herself or family. An example of stalking as sexual harassment is following someone who does not want to be followed down the hall or on the street while shouting suggestive things.

 

Harassment as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.571):

The legal definition of harassment in Nevada is using words or conduct to knowingly threaten another person (or his/her family) with harm so that he/she reasonably fears the threat will be carried out. The threatened harm can be either:

• Physical injury,

• Property damage,

• Physical restraint or confinement, or

• Anything else meant to substantially impair the victim's bodily or psychological safety

 

Assault as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.471):

Assault is basically an intended battery, and no physical touching actually occurs. In order to convict a defendant of assault, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

•The defendant put the victim in reasonable apprehension of an immediate unlawful physical touching,

•The defendant intended to commit the assault, and

•The alleged victim was aware of the assault as it was happening

What to do after being harassed in Nevada?

When an employee or other person suffers sexual harassment the first step they should take is to follow their employer’s guidelines for reporting it.  There is a law against any retaliation to an employee who has reported incidents of sexual harassment.  A complaint needs to filed with the EEOC before 300 days have elapsed after the last incident.   The next step is to speak with an employment attorney about filing federal, state and city complaints.

If you feel that your harassment is of a criminal nature, call your local police department and report it right away.

 

The following US agency can assist in any federal harassment issue:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1-800-669-4000 1-800-669-6820 (TTY) info@eeoc.gov eeoc.gov

 

 

The following state agencies can assist in any sexual harassment issue:

 

Nevada Equal Rights Commission 1820 East Sahara Avenue, Suite 314 Las Vegas, NV 89104

PH: 702 486-7161 Fax: 702-486-7054

 

Nevada Equal Rights Commission 1675 E. Prater Way, Suite 103 Sparks, NV 89434

PH: 775-823-6690 Fax: 775-688-1292

 

Or visit us on the Internet:

http://www.detr.state.nv.us

A complaint must be filed within 300 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory conduct.

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