Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination.

There are two types of sexual harassment in the workplace – quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer, or supervisor, conditions an employment benefit upon the employee’s submission to a sexual advance or favor. Alternatively, it might take the form of punishing an employee who rebuffs the supervisor’s sexual advances.

A hostile work environment may be created by engaging in, or allowing, behavior that creates what a reasonable person would consider an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment on the basis of gender, or by tolerating or encouraging conduct that unreasonably interferes with an employee’s ability to do her job.

Conduct that may lead to a hostile work environment based on sex includes:
• sexually explicit postings in the workplace;
• sexually charged comments or jokes, whether verbal or written; or
• physical touchings.

The conduct must be objectively and subjectively offensive, severe or pervasive, and it must be unwelcome. A single act may, under certain circumstances, constitute sexual harassment.

Photo by Leon Israel