Sexual Harassment


Sexual Harassment in the workplace comes in two basic forms: 1) Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment, and 2) Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment (“This for that”).

Hostile Work Environment is conduct that creates an environment in which the employee considers hostile, such as a Supervisor repeatedly touching an employee. Quid Pro Quo is conduct in which the employer offers a job or promotion in exchange for sexual favors. Often, unlawful conduct in the workplace can become both Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment.

To be considered Sexual Harassment, the conduct must be due to a protected characteristic: Sex (pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace can occur between male-female, female-male, male-male or female-female. Additionally, the law does NOT require sexual desire to be considered sexual harassment.

Supervisors and co-workers can both create unlawful sexual harassment at work. Often, Supervisors create strict liability of the employers. However, employer liability of co-workers require the employer “knew or should have known” of the conduct.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace requires the conduct to be “extreme” or “pervasive”. A single “extreme” unlawful act can qualify as sexual harassment, such as a single incident of genital touching. Or, “pervasive” conduct can be sexual harassment when it is repetitive or ongoing, such as continuous sexual innuendos or comments.

Finally, the law protects employees who report sexual harassment from Retaliation or Discrimination. The law encourages employees to report conduct in which they perceive to be sexual harassment, and employers have a duty to investigate complaints and prevent sexual harassment from occurring.

For more information, please call one of the attorneys at Tower Legal Group for a free consultation.