Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace can be extremely difficult. It can be hard to continue working in a place while you are being constantly sexually harassed. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we believe that employers who engage in or allow sexual harassment in the workplace should be held accountable. If the sexual harassment you are experiencing constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment, or it creates a hostile work environment, you may have a right to bring a legal claim against your employer.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
There are two main kinds of unlawful sexual harassment, including quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that means “this for that.” In other words, quid pro quo essentially means, “if you do something for me, I’ll do something for you.” Typically quid pro quo harassment happens when an employer or co-worker states that you must engage in a certain action, or you will experience an adverse employment consequence.
Examples of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo harassment involves a sexual harasser making demands to an employee. In many cases, an employer or co-worker will demand that an employee engage in some type of sexual activity, or else the employer will fire or demote the employee. The employer might say that if the employee does not agree, they will deny the employee a promoted promotion.
Or, the employer might tell an employer that if he or she engages in a sexual activity, the employer will grant the employee a raise, promotion, or some other type of employment benefit. Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment does not have to involve sexual acts, it can include discussion of sex acts, or commentary about the employee’s clothing, body, or about what the aggressor would like to do it. Some examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include the following:
- An employer offers to give an employee a raise if the employee kisses him or her
- An employer threatens to fire an employee who does not have sex or engage in sexual activity with him or her
- An employer offers to write a stellar employee recommendation if the employee engages in sex
- A manager offers an employee a promotion or a raise in exchange for sex
- An employer, manager, or supervisor demotes an employee who refuses to engage in sexual activities with him or her
- An employer threatens to withhold your health insurance or retirement benefits if you refuse his or her sexual advances
- An employer only allows an employee to participate in beneficial work projects if he or she engages in sexual demands
- The employee review process, or evaluation process, is based on an employee cooperating with sexual demands
Sexual Harassment Through Hostile Work Environment
When sexual harassment creates a hostile work envirotnemnt, the employee may have a right to bring a lawsuit. A hostile work environment can happen when a supervisor, co-worker, or third-party makes unwanted sexual advances, requests, or comments. The employee will need to prove that the unwanted sexual advances were repeated and unwanted. Examples of sexual harassment include the following:
- Sexual jokes or humor
- Repeated sexual advances to an employer who is unwanted
- Stopping another employee from moving freely around the workplace
- Repeated touching of a sexual nature
One of the main differences between quid pro quo sexual harassment and a hostile work einvorciment involves the pervasiveness of the behavior. For example, if your employer offers you a promotion in exchange for sex, that one instance of quid pro quo is enough to prove sexual harassment. However, you will need to prove repeated events to prove that you are in a hostile work environment due to harassment. A single comment or unwanted sexual advance is not enough to constitute sexual harassment through a hostile work environment.
Keep in mind that proving a hostile work environment does not require that your employer threatened to take a negative employment action against you. You only need to prove that multiple, unwanted incidences of sexual harassment happened and took place.
Contact Our Experienced Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers Today
If you have experienced either type of sexual harassment, your next step is to speak to an experienced lawyer. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we understand that discussing sexual harassment can be very difficult and painful. Our understanding legal team will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.