It’s important to recognize that anyone can be the victims of sexual harassment, and it can take a variety of forms. Sexual harassment can generally be placed into one of two broad categories:
- Quid pro quo harassment
- Hostile work environment harassment.
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a condition of employment is based on the performance or refusal of a sexual act. On the other hand, hostile work environment harassment occurs when “the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.” Some examples of conduct that would likely be considered hostile work environment harassment include:
- Sexual jokes
- Offensive comments
- Unwanted touching
- Displaying images
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwanted advances
It’s important to understand that an off-color comment here or there may not rise to the level of unlawful harassment, while other conduct may be so severe that a single instance is sufficient to create an unlawfully hostile work environment. As a result, if you even think you’ve been harassed at work, it’s critical that you discuss your case with an experienced sexual discrimination lawyer.