Ultimate Guide to Sexual Harassment

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 Sexual Harassment: What Is It?

Unwanted sexual advances, sexual behavior, or other verbal or physical acts of a sexual character, typically at work, are considered a kind of sexual harassment.

What Kinds of Conduct Qualify as Sexual Harassment?

The following are just a few examples of the numerous actions that could be considered sexual harassment:

  • Intentional contact or constant brushing against another person’s body that doesn’t enhance the labor, service, or education being done;
  • Repeated inquiries for a date, coworkers or those in positions of authority pressuring or demanding a date or sexual behavior with a subordinate;
  • Displays of obscenity through images or other mediums that do not further the labor, service, or education being carried out;
  • Any sexual interaction or conversation that doesn’t promote the work being done or add to it.

What are the Different Forms of Sexual Harassment?

A party is normally protected against two categories of sexual harassment that are legally recognized. These are the two forms of sexual harassment:

  • Retaliatory sexual harassment; and
  • Sexual harassment in a hostile atmosphere.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when a worker is given a promotion or is allowed to keep their job at a company based on whether the worker consented to sexual approaches from other workers, usually those in a higher position. Most circumstances dictate that if an individual refuses approaches, they will either not receive a promotion or risk losing their job.

When a manager promises to advance a worker in exchange for a sexual favor, that is an example of quid pro quo sexual harassment. It is crucial to understand that even if the employee consents to the sexual approach, this does not exclude them from filing a complaint. Even if the employee consented to the advances, the employee might nonetheless bring a sexual harassment claim against the business.

When a coworker or supervisor makes sexual approaches or comments to an employee while at work, even if it has no bearing on the individual’s chances of getting promoted or keeping their job, it creates a hostile and offensive work environment. The following are only a few examples of hostile environment sexual harassment:

  • Queries about you that are filthy in character;
  • Crude language and other offensive expressions;
  • Physical behavior that would be offensive to a reasonable person or sexual in nature; and
  • Images or writing that is obscene or sexually explicit and is visible to other employees

What Does Workplace Sexual Harassment Mean?

Whether or not a person would experience sexual harassment at work is the last thing on their mind (or the last thing that should be on it) when they accept a job offer.

It is normal to worry about other work-related matters, such as increases, promotions, and whether or not they will eventually have access to healthcare, but sexual harassment should never be added to that list of worries. You might need to file a lawsuit to defend your rights if it happens.

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination that is illegal, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and includes:

  • Unwanted sexual advances.
  • Requests for sexual favors.
  • Other verbal or physical acts that are sexual.

Although this is most frequently linked to gender discrimination, sexual harassment can also apply to any disrespectful statements or remarks made about a person’s gender.

The act of sexual harassment at work is also regarded as an instance of employment discrimination. The inappropriate behavior may occur between two coworkers at work or between a supervisor and an employee.

There are typically two basic categories of sexual harassment allegations in the workplace. The first type of harassment is referred to as “quid pro quo,” and the second as “hostile work environment” harassment.

Any person, regardless of gender, can suffer sexual harassment, regardless of the relationship between the parties or how it is labeled. It can occur between people of the same sex and those of opposite sexes. The fundamental component in detecting sexual harassment is the nature of the violating party or parties’ actions.

What are a Few Illustrations of Sexual Harassment at Work?

Two main categories of sexual harassment accusations can happen at work, as previously discussed.

One scenario that fits into the first category of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment is when a supervisor (or higher-ranking employee) requests a sexual favor from a lower-ranked employee. The manager will promise the worker some sort of job benefit or perk in return for this favor, such as getting paid more or earning a promotion.

Another illustration of the second type of sexual harassment that occurs in a “hostile work environment” is when a worker at the company repeatedly makes sexual advances on other employees and causes them to feel uncomfortable to the point that it affects their attendance or performance at work.

The key distinction between these two types of sexual harassment at work is that quid pro quo must involve a higher-ranking employee than the victim. In contrast, a hostile work environment is more concerned with the offensive behavior itself rather than the perpetrator. The sufferer might even encounter both in some circumstances.

Additionally, there is another classification of workplace sexual harassment known as “non-direct” sexual harassment. This can occur in either of the instances above, but it is directed towards someone other than the intended victim.

For instance, spectators may claim “non-direct” sexual harassment if they watch a coworker being harassed or are outraged by frequently overhearing crude remarks or jokes. Depending on the situation’s specifics, it may occasionally qualify as “direct” sexual harassment instead.

Do Sexual Harassment Laws Protect Me?

The following groups are protected by sexual harassment laws:

  • Male coworkers, bosses, or employers harassing female employees;
  • Harassment of male workers by female workers, superiors, or coworkers;
  • Harassment by bosses, managers, or coworkers of the same gender, whether male or female. Sexual harassment between the sexes frequently arises from the harasser’s perception that the target does not fit a preconceived sexual stereotype.

Possibility of Sexual Harassment by Employers

An employer’s legal responsibility for sexual harassment might vary depending on the specifics of the business. What the harasser’s position is within the organization and the type of sexual harassment that has been reported are some criteria that will be taken into account. If sexual harassment is established, your employer may be held accountable.

However, the employer must hold other employees or supervisors accountable for their participation in and behavior related to sexual harassment. Once told about sexual harassment, it is illegal for an employer to do nothing to stop it.

How to Make a Claim for Sexual Harassment

The process for submitting a sexual harassment claim may differ. However, the most typical method for doing this is as follows:

  • Review the corporate policies in your workplace first. You should be able to file a complaint with the HR department of your employer.
  • You might need to submit a claim with a government administrative agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if your firm does not reply to your claim (EEOC). This organization will look into your claim and permit you to work with your employer to find a solution.

You might need to launch a lawsuit in civil court if bringing the matter to the attention of a government agency does not end the situation.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Investigating and proving sexual harassment can be quite challenging, which is crucial to know if you have been a victim. A sexual harassment attorney can assist you in navigating the challenging terrain by giving you crucial information, such as the statute of limitation deadlines, to ensure that your claim is submitted on time.

Additionally, EEOC inspectors are frequently overworked, so you can explore your claim while you wait for the EEOC to respond with a little help from an employment lawyer.

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