From bold sexual advances to subtle remarks that generate a hostile or uncomfortable work environment, sexual harassment is a serious matter that can on take many different forms.
Sexual harassment claims generally fall under one of two situations: Quid pro quo or hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment refers to situations when a manager or someone in a supervisory capacity offers employment benefits in exchange for sexual acts. The other, and more common, form of sexual harassment involves a hostile work environment. In a hostile work environment, an employee may have to deal with a wide range of lewd conduct such as:
- Uninvited touching or hugging
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Suggestive remarks or comments on a person’s appearance, clothing or looks
- Suggestive jokes or lewd remarks
An employee can be a victim of sexual harassment whether he or she is directly harassed or is exposed to conduct in the workplace that he or she finds offensive. Even if you were not discharged, demoted, or otherwise directly affected as a result, you may have a valid sexual harassment claim if the conduct interfered with your work or led to a threatening or uncomfortable work environment.
Finally, sexual harassment is not just a woman’s problem. Male employees can be victims of sexual harassment as well. Employees may find themselves harassed by a supervisor, manager, CEO, fellow employer, or a non-employee of the opposite or same sex.