Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and federal law. Sexual harassment occurs when someone makes unwanted sexual advances or requests sexual favors, says or does sexual things, or engages in sexually explicit physical activities. Such actions can be used to file a discrimination complaint in civil court.
The concept of sexual harassment includes offensive statements or comments about a person’s gender; however, this is more commonly referred to as gender discrimination. When this type of behavior occurs in the workplace, the law may consider it to be employment discrimination. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if a person can prove that they have been the victim of sexual harassment, it is a violation of federal law (Title VII). Title VII is one of a number of statutes enacted to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.
When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a handbook that distinguishes between “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment” allegations. So, how many different types of sexual harassment exist? The two most important are as follows:
Quid pro quo
“In exchange for that, I’ll give you this.” It refers to solicitations for sexual favors made at work in exchange for a benefit (such as an increase in income or promotion) or to avoid a detriment (such as being fired) (such as termination or demotion). Quid pro quo harassment, a form of bullying, is widespread among those in positions of power or authority (for instance, manager or supervisor over a subordinate). Quid pro quo harassment is when employees are threatened with dismissal if they don’t participate in sex with their bosses.
Hostile work environment
When a person’s job performance is harmed by violent or humiliating behavior or statements in the workplace, this is known as hostile work environment harassment. This harassment can affect everyone in the workplace, including coworkers, bosses, subordinates, vendors, clients, and contractors. Because an individual comment or occurrence may not be severe, humiliating behaviour that is not based on sexual orientation, and substantial periods may occur between offensive instances, it is difficult to identify hostile work settings. Sexual jokes or remarks, unwanted touching, persistent date solicitations, and a work environment with obscene images are all examples of behavior that can create a hostile work environment.
There is a wide range of situations in which sexual harassment may occur, according to the EEOC, including the following:
- Both the victim and the harasser might be female or male. Victims need not be of the opposite sex.
- The harasser may be the victim’s boss, a representative of the employer, a supervisor in another department, a coworker, or a non-employee in the company.
- As long as the objectionable behavior affects someone, the victim isn’t always the one harassed.
- The victim of unlawful sexual harassment may not be harmed financially or lose their job due to the harassment.
- The actions of the harasser must be considered offensive.
Consult with a trusted harassment lawyer
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual harassment, seek help as soon as possible, regardless of the circumstances. One of the attorneys at Usmaan Sleemi’s Law Offices would be happy to meet with you in person or over the phone to discuss your case in confidence.