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Equal Rights Division Newsletter - November 15, 2021

Harassment - when does it become unlawful?

People often assume that all harassment is unlawful. Being picked on for which sports team you like is annoying, but it's not unlawful. For harassing behavior to be unlawful it must be based on an individual's membership in a protected class. It must also be severe or pervasive enough that it rises to the level of harassment.

Wisconsin FMLA Image

What does it mean to be in a protected class?

Wisconsin Fair Employment Law recognizes several different categories as being protected under the law from harassment in the workplace and housing. These protected categories or "classes" are:

When does harassing behavior become unlawful harassment?

Unlawful harassment is established when unwelcome activity reaches a level considered to be severe or pervasive. If harassing behavior happens frequently, and interferes with work responsibilities, it is then severe and pervasive enough to be considered unlawful harassment.

Know Your Rights

You have the right to a work environment that treats you as respectfully as your co-workers, regardless of your sex, age over 40, race, religion, disability, marital status, or any other characteristics the Wisconsin Fair Employment Law protects as mentioned above. If you have experienced or think you have experienced workplace harassment or harassment in housing, you may want to contact the Equal Rights Division for further assistance.


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