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What is considered sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Employment Law

Sexual harassment can make the victim’s daily life and going to work unbearable. For that reason, victims of sexual harassment should know what is considered sexual harassment and how they are protected in the workplace.

There are two primary types of sexual harassment including quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile workplace environment sexual harassment. It is important to be familiar with each.

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment: Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to when a supervisor or person in a position of power requires sex or sexual favors in exchange for either career advancement or refraining from taking negative action against the employee. As examples, favors can include promotions or raises and negative actions can include firing or punishing the employee.
  • Hostile workplace environment sexual harassment: Sexual harassment can also refer to the creation of a hostile workplace environment because of pervasive and offensive sexual behavior. Sexual harassment can include the presence of demeaning sexual photographs, jokes or threats in the workplace. If this inappropriate sexual behavior and content is pervasive enough that it creates a workplace environment that is offensive, it can be considered hostile workplace environment sexual harassment.

When determining if the conduct creates a hostile workplace environment, several factors may be considered. Factors can include the frequency of the inappropriate behavior, the severity of the behavior, the conduct of the victim, the context of the alleged harassment, the size and nature of the employer’s business and if a reasonable person in the victim’s position would consider the environment hostile.

Sexual harassment can be intimidating and make it difficult to go to work each day. Employment law can provide protections to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace which does not have to be tolerated.