Harassment in the workplace is a common issue facing both Employees and Employers.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which violates both federal and state laws. Courts often distinguish between two types of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.”
What is “Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment?
Quid pro quo (“I want this for that”) harassment occurs when an employer demands an exchange of some sexual activity for an employment benefit. When an employer makes submitting to certain sexual conduct a specific requirement of the job, or bases employment decisions on whether someone rejects or accepts that conduct, then quid pro quo harassment has occurred.
What is “Hostile Work Environment” or Harassment in the Workplace?
Sometimes the workplace becomes so polluted with sexual jokes, comments, requests, activities, and behaviors that the worker no longer wants to arrive at work, feels uncomfortable at work, or is apprehensive all the time when at the work. When this intimidating or offensive environment exists, a sexually harassing “hostile work environment” also exists. When such behaviors occur frequently or pervasively, the courts find the law is violated. Some events are so severe that, the first time those events occur, the law is violated.
What is Unwelcome Sexual Conduct?
Sexual conduct is unlawful when it is unwelcome. Employees who consent to certain sexual conduct in the workplace may nevertheless have claims of sexual harassment. The law distinguishes between unwelcome sexual conduct and consensual sexual conduct. Our attorneys are trained to identify illegal and unwelcome sexual conduct.
What is Sexual Orientation Harassment?
Sexual orientation harassment is a form of sexual orientation discrimination, and is like sexual harassment, except that the individual’s orientation is at least one factor when the harassment has occurred. The laws barring sexual orientation harassment protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and straight persons. Our attorneys are trained to identify and recognize sexual orientation harassment.
What is Gender Identity Harassment?
Sexual identity harassment is a form of gender identity discrimination, and occurs when the individual’s gender identity is at least one factor when the harassment has occurred. Our firm has extensive experience representing transgender, transsexual and other workplace matters involving gender identity issues.
Is All Harassment Illegal?
No. Only when harassment in the workplace is based, at least in part, on some legally protected characteristic of a worker, does the harassment become illegal. Many types of workplace harassment are not illegal, and most employees need to consult with an attorney to determine if a particular form of harassment violates a particular law.
If you would like to consult with a lawyer to discuss your situation, please call 408.796.7551, or fill out the contact form with a brief description of your employment issue.