Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual conduct or advances that create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment. Therefore, it is any conduct of sexual nature that makes an employee uncomfortable.
As you’ve seen, sexual harassment has a broad definition. Thus, it’s not surprising that it comes in different forms. These include;
1. Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo is a Latin term that means, “something in return.” In this context, it may mean something like, if you go out on a date with me, I’ll give you that job. Or, if you have sex with me, I’ll suspend the ongoing investigations to allow you to keep your job.
If someone states clearly or implies that agreeing to sexual favors or romantic engagement will determine whether you get a job, retain your job, get a pay rise or promotion, that’s sexual harassment.
2. Hostile Working Environment
Yes, several types of sexual harassment don’t include propositioning for sexual favors as a condition for employment, promotion, or advancement. Such include sexual advances, comments, and innuendos or any unwelcome conduct that’s severe or pervasive which creates an environment that any reasonable person would consider abusive, hostile, or intimidating.
It’s important to note that the person affected doesn’t have to be the one’s offensive jokes or comments were directed at. Maybe the affected persons were not part of the conversation but overheard them.
Who Can Be Sexually Harassed?
Sexual harassment is a gender-neutral offense. Therefore, both men and women can be the victims of sexual harassment.
However, according to statistics, the majority of sexual harassment claims are brought up by women.
And yes, people of the same sex can also harass each other sexually.
What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like?
Yes, the facts and evidence of a case are important in determining whether the case merits sexual harassment or not. Plus, different courts might rule differently on the same case. However, there are certain examples of incidents and behaviors, if unwelcome constitute sexual harassment in the workplace. These include:
• Stories, questions, and conversations about sex
• Comments about someone’s appearance
• Staring at someone
• Stalking someone
• Spreading rumors about one’s sexual life
• Suggestive text messages, emails, or other communications vulgar jokes, language, innuendos, and music with sexually explicit content
• Unwanted physical contact or touching
• Rape and sexual assault
What Should One Do in Case of Sexual Harassment?
To chart the right path for your case, you may need to contact sexual harassment lawyers in Queens for legal advice. The attorney will advise on whether specific behaviors constitute sexual harassment claims.
Here’s what you can do to stop sexual harassment:
1. Speak Up
At times, your co-workers may not realize that their comments or conduct is offensive. The best solution, therefore, is to let them know about their behavior. The employees may stop the behavior out of genuine concern to avoid workplace tension. If they don’t, then you’ve put them on notice.
2. File a Complaint
Most companies have a detailed procedure for handling sexual harassment cases and complaints. If that’s your company, follow the procedure to the letter.
If there’s no procedure, contact your immediate supervisor on the matter. If the supervisor is the one harassing you, then report the case to their immediate supervisor. Keep the record of your complaint and any response on the same.
Any form of sexual harassment towards a person is illegal. The victims are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and respective State Laws. A competent attorney can help the victims decipher what constitutes sexual harassment and what doesn’t. Further, the lawyer will advise you on the right course of action to take to stop the habit.