Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Hostile Work Environments
Sexual harassment has several forms.
In the workplace, several types of sexual harassment exist. One definition of sexual harassment in the workplace, known as quid pro quo sexual harassment, occurs when sexual conduct is a required condition of obtaining or maintaining tangible employment benefits. These benefits include higher salary, promotions, and even continued employment in some cases. Under these circumstances, sexual harassment constitutes the denial of an employment opportunity because of the individual’s refusal to engage in sexual or social relations with a supervisor. This is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Sexual harassment or gender discrimination can be demonstrated in two different circumstances. The first is when a supervisor engages in gender discrimination in the workplace by imposing conditions on the employee. The second situation is when a supervisor requests sexual favors in return for granting employment opportunities. Both of these are forms of harassment. In each of these situations, gender does not matter. Men and woman can both be the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination the workplace have gotten a lot of attention over the past couple years, and they continue to happen much more often than most people think. Discrimination and sexual harassment can prevent you from getting opportunities you deserve, and it can also affect your future job references. If you had a bad supervisor in the past, it would be beneficial to have a reference checking service ensure they aren’t hurting your chances of getting a job.
A harassment complaint can only be actionable if it is sufficiently severe and pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. The sexual harassment must have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. If these elements are present there may be a claim of sexual harassment available against the offending party.
Things to Know About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace:
- Unlike other discriminatory behavior, it can often be nearly indistinguishable from normal social relations between men and women.
- Even if the victim suffers no adverse economic impact or employment opportunity as a result of the behaviors and actions of a supervisor, their rights can still be violated and legally pursued.
- Sexual harassment and other gender discrimination are frequently practiced in violation of, rather than in compliance with, company policy.
- Sexual Harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, industry, or age.
Sexual Harassment Laws
Sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful under both state and federal laws. Simply stated, sexual harassment is a drastic abuse of the employer’s power. There are two types of sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer conditions any term of employment on the performance of sexual favors. For example, an employer cannot require an employee to engage in sexual behavior in order to keep their position.
A hostile work environment occurs when an employer maintains an environment where a) offensive conduct of a sexual nature is either tolerated or encouraged and b) that conduct makes others feel uncomfortable or conditions unreasonably interfere with an employee’s performance in the workplace on account of his or her sex. A hostile work environment can also exist on the basis of racial discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, religious discrimination, disability discrimination, or age discrimination. This illegal conduct can include uninvited touching or groping, lewd comments, dirty jokes and even physical assault.
(Legal information courtesy of Cutler & McLeod)
Sexual Harassment Articles
The JobReferences.com Reference Checking service helps sexual harassment victims protect their job reference, reputation, and future livelihood. Unfortunately, reporting sexual harassment can cost you your current job, and the next one too. What happens to your job...read more