Were You Harassed at Work Based on Your Sex? Sexual Harassment 101


Posted by: Chris

We often receive calls from people who are concerned that they have been sexually harassed at work. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still common in the U.S. That's why we have laws that are designed to encourage employers to take train their employees and to take quick action when they learn about harassment. When those incentives don't work, we also have laws to help victims recover money damages.

To determine whether you've been sexually harassed, you should know the two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

"Quid pro quo" just means "this for that." With this type of harassment, a supervisor attempts to tie a favorable employment decision to some sort of sexual behavior, such as a positive response to sexual banter, repeated requests for dates, or even sexual favors. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can apply to any type of employment benefit, such as a promotion or a raise.

Hostile work environment harassment involves a work environment that has become "hostile" due to some type of unwelcome conduct. As you might expect, the conduct might involve sexual jokes or banter, inappropriate calendar or computer images, inappropriate and unwanted touching, or discussions about sex. However, the basis of a hostile work environment does not have to be sexual at all. For example, if a man repeatedly criticizes and screams at a female employee about her work performance because she is a female, that could be evidence of a potential hostile work environment.

In addition, a hostile work environment can be created by anyone—a supervisor, a fellow employee, or even a client or customer. The sex of the harasser and the employee does not matter: that is, a male employee can harass a female, a female can harass a male, or the harassment may be same-sex. The victim does not have to suffer any economic injury to be a victim of sexual harassment.

At Armstrong & Vaught, we stand up for the rights of working people, and we believe in protecting the rights of those who are harassed at work based on sex. Sexual harassment of any kind is wrong and illegal. If you feel that you have been the victim of sexual harassment, please call (918) 582-2500 today for a free consultation.