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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Youth at Work

D is Incorrect.

Not all workplace harassment is illegal. The laws enforced by EEOC make it illegal to harass someone because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, age (40 or older), or genetic information (including family medical history). Federal employment discrimination law does not make it illegal to harass someone for other reasons—for example, because of a picture he posted on his Facebook page or because she roots for a particular sports team. Even so, some employers may have “zero tolerance policies” that are stricter than federal law and prohibit all forms of harassment. As a result, it’s a good idea to not harass others at work for any reason.

In this example, the customer made comments related to national origin to Jorge. However, the comments were only made once, so it is unlikely that the customer’s behavior would be considered severe or frequent enough to represent illegal harassment.

Try again! Select another choice below.


3. Jorge, a Honduran citizen living in the United States, accepted a summer job with a landscaping company. On his first day, Jorge broke a lawn mower, prompting the customer to yell at him. The customer called Jorge “stupid” and complained that foreign kids like Jorge were stealing jobs from hard-working Americans. Jorge did not see the customer again during the rest of the summer. Did the customer illegally harass Jorge?

  1. No. Because the customer does not work for the landscaping company, the company cannot be held legally responsible for the customerís conduct.
  2. No. Although the customerís conduct was offensive and was directed at Jorge because of his national origin, it was not sufficiently severe (very serious) or pervasive (frequent) to establish illegal harassment.
  3. No. Because Jorge is not an American citizen, he is not protected by U.S. employment discrimination laws.
  4. Yes. It is illegal to harass someone at work for any reason.