Know the score:
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace occurs when a co-worker or employer makes sexually suggestive comments, gestures, or actions toward an employee. Sexual harassment can be done against someone of the same gender as the harasser, as well as someone who identities as a different gender. The harasser does not necessarily have to be sexually attracted to the harassed, either.
Employers are legally required to provide a safe, harassment-free workplace. If they fail to meet those legal standards, they may be legally liable for any sexual harassment conducted at the workplace.
Types of sexual harassment:
While there are many types of sexual harassment and a top harassment attorney can provide you with an exhaustive list of scenarios, some types include:
- Sexually suggestive jokes, comments, or gestures
- Unwelcome compliments on an employee’s appearance
- Sexually explicit texts or emails
- Showing sexually explicit content at work
- Circulating rumors about an employee that have a sexual nature
- Inappropriate “gifts”
- Unwelcome physical contact
Quid pro quo sexual harassment vs. hostile work environment sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when there is a workplace benefit that is exchanged (or propositioned for an exchange) for sexual behavior. For example, if you have been asking for a raise for three months and your employer agrees to finally give you the raise in exchange for performing a sexual favor, that is quid pro quo sexual harassment. This can also happen if an employee is pressured to perform a sexual favor to get out of punishment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is the most obvious type of harassment.
Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when the sexual behavior is unwelcome, when the sexual behavior is based upon gender (for example: the harasser has taken an interest in harassing you because of your gender and not because you are wearing, say, red shoes, which is not illegal), and the harassment must be severe and ongoing.
What can a harassed individual do?
- When a person who is being harassed feels safe enough to ask their harasser to stop, it is important that they do so. However, if the harassed believes they would put their personal safety at risk, they should not confront their abuser.
- It is important to report the sexual harassment to an HR professional or other method of complaint-making that your company has in place. If you report the aggression and are terminated by your company, you might also be able to sue your employer for wrongful termination. You can also report the sexual harassment to another employee who can vouch that the harassment happened.
- Document the sexual harassment. Keep a record of each time any unwanted advances – either verbal or physical – were committed unto you. Include what was said, the day and time in which it occurred, the people involved, any witnesses, and how you responded to the abuse. Be as detailed as possible in your documentation so that if the problem persists, there are in-depth examples of each offense.
If the harassment persists, it is in your best interest to contact a top sexual harassment lawyer, like the ones on our team at Lawyers for Justice, PC. We have been fighting for over a decade against unfair workplace conditions and we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Contact Lawyers for Justice, PC Today for a Free Consultation
If you feel you’ve been sexually harassed, contact Lawyers for Justice, PC, and we’ll determine if your employer violated any federal or state laws. To get started, call (818) 647-9323 and receive a free consultation, today!