Sexual harassment is a form of Sex Discrimination involving bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, unwelcome or inappropriate comments, and promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.
There are two primary theories of Sexual Harassment: Quid Pro Quo, and Hostile Work Environment.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid Pro Quo, latin for "This for That," is a form of Sexual Harassment in which a reward is conditioned upon a romantic or sexual favor. A Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment claim requires either an actual adverse employment action, or submission to the sexual harassment.
Hostile Work Environment
A Hostile Work Environment theory of Sexual Harassment is based on a work environment saturated by sexually or racially insensitive comments, actions or activities. To be actionable harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive work environment.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
In order to file a Sexual Harassment claim, you must demonstrate that:
- You belong to a protected group (race, sex, national origin, religion, etc.)
- You were subjected to unwelcome harassment
- The harassment was based on a protected characteristic of yourself (your sex, your race, etc.)
- The harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment, AND The harassment was objectively offensive from the standpoint of a reasonable person in your position considering the totality of the circumstances and the harassment was subjectively offensive to the you, and
- Your employer is responsible for such environment under either a theory of vicarious or of direct liability
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