According to one poll, 60% of women report having been sexually harassed by a man.
It is not something the only affects women. 11% of men said they had been the victims of sexual harassment at some point in their lives.
Sadly, sexual harassment in the workplace is something that continues to happen despite the best efforts of employers to stamp it out. But what does sexual harassment constitute exactly?
We take a look at the legal definition and main types of sexual harassment that can occur.
What Does the Law Say?
The law is very clear about what constitutes sexual harassment.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. If this behavior explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, then it is considered to be sexual harassment.
The conduct of the harasser must be unwelcome. It is beneficial to any future claim that the victim informs the harasser that this is the case, ideally via a workplace complaint so that it is on record.
When it comes to sexual harassment claims, they usually fall into two categories.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a superior asks you for a sexual favor in return for a benefit such as keeping your job or receiving a promotion.
The behavior might include things such as asking for sexual favors or to go on a date. It might be more physical such as implying that the victim should put up with unwanted inappropriate touching. It can also be purely verbal. For example, expecting the recipient to accept or respond to comments about them or their bodies, or to put up with sexual jokes or innuendos.
For a quid pro quo case, there need only be a single instance of the offending behavior to sustain a claim.
A hostile environment means repeated actions that cause the victim to feel uncomfortable in their own workplace.
It implies a pattern of harassment where the behavior is sexual in nature and repeated enough to create a hostile environment. Once again, the behavior must be unwanted, so a formal complaint is the best way to get this on record.
Quid pro quo is most often done by a single person. A hostile environment may be the work of a number of co-workers if they are all involved in the unwanted actions.
Have You Been a Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
If you have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace and want to make a claim, we’re here to help.
We can assist you in finding the best sexual harassment attorneys in your area. We want to make sure we help you stand up for your rights, make your voice heard, and receive the compensation you deserve.
If you would like to know more about the services we offer or have any other questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free case evaluation.