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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office hosts roundtable discussion on sexual harassment in the workplace

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division hosted a roundtable to discuss the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

The Department of Justice, through the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against state and local government employers. The law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion. Sexual harassment is among the conduct the law prohibits because it is a form of sex discrimination. 

Harassment comes in many forms and can be verbal or nonverbal. It can be face-to-face or online. It can involve physical conduct or the display of images. Both men and women can be harassers or the victims of harassment. Harassment does not have to be repeated to be improper. A single incident can be enough, if severe.

This roundtable, which is the first in the country, is part of the Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative. The initiative seeks to bring sex discrimination claims against state and local government employers with a renewed emphasis on sexual harassment charges. The department also works to develop effective remedial measures that can be used to hold public sector employers accountable where systemic Title VII violations have been found. This includes identifying changes to existing employer practices and policies that will result in safe work environments. The creation of this initiative reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to the aggressive enforcement of the nation’s anti-discrimination laws and an expansion of the Civil Rights Division’s efforts to eradicate sexual harassment by public employers.  

This office is working closely with the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division to spread the word here in the district about options to help public sector employees. Roundtable discussions like this one are one way to increase awareness and build strong partnerships in the community to combat this problem together.

Additional information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available on the Civil Rights Division’s website.

DOJ encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, or knows someone who has, to contact the Civil Rights Division.  

Updated November 21, 2019

Civil Rights