What Constitutes as Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is among the leading forms of workplace harassment. Although cases of sexual harassment are mostly reported by women, men are affected as well. Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual requests, advances and physical or verbal conduct of sexual nature.

Sexual harassment is also included in the law and encompasses unsolicited requests for various sexual favors or sexual advances made with one’s consent. Any behaviors that can sufficiently cause intimidation or a hostile working environment for a specific gender qualify to be classified as sexual harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can be classified into two categories; the hostile environment and the quid pro quo.

  • Quid pro quo: This term translates to this for that, and it is a type of harassment that occurs when a certain decision about an individual depends on whether the individual submits to conduct of sexual nature.

For instance, this may happen if a person is required to submit to sexual advances to be employed or to participate in a certain university program. So, if your boss requests you to have sexual intercourse with him/her for you to be promoted, then that qualifies to be a quid pro quo sexual harassment.

  • Hostile environment sexual harassment: Unlike the quid pro quo, this type of sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct creates a threatening, abusive, and intimidating environment.

The effects can be so severe and life-threatening. Typically, people who initiate this type of harassment will have some form of power or class over the person who is being harassed. For instance, a supervisor can intimidate and coerce a supervisee into sexual conduct.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

Anyone can be a victim and suspect when it comes to sexual harassment. Keep in mind that sexual harassment isn’t limited to making inappropriate sexual advances only. Other common examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Sending suggestive text messages or emails
  • Making inappropriate and unsolicited sexual gestures
  • Sharing inappropriate photographs or videos with other people
  • Making sexual comments about someone’s clothing, body parts, or clothing
  • Making offensive remarks about another person's gender identity or sexual orientation

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact the law office of Pitt, McGehee, Palmer & Rivers today to fight for you.