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The Fair Employment Protection Act: Why Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment

Harassment in the workplace on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, and genetic information is prohibited under federal employment nondiscrimination law. This is true regardless of whether the harassment is perpetrated by a supervisor or coworker. Employers have a heightened legal obligation to guard against supervisor harassment because of the potential for supervisors to exploit their authority over their subordinates by harassing them. As a result of this heightened obligation, employees have had strong protections from supervisor harassment and employers have had strong incentives to prevent and remedy supervisor harassment when it occurs.  This fact sheet explains how the Fair Employment Protection Act would restore these strong protections, which were gutted by the Vance v. Ball State University Supreme Court decision, focusing on the stories of several plaintiffs.