When people think about being sexually harassed on the job, they often think of situations that seem very obvious or even over-the-top. This might stem from movie or TV plot lines that sensationalize such encounters or even educational materials presented to employees upon hiring that attempt to show examples of this type of misconduct.
However, workplace sexual harassment may not always be overt or consisting of single actions made by specific people. In order to better understand what many people may actually be experiencing when it comes to harassment, we will look at the two types of claims that can be filed in regard to sexual harassment: quid pro quo claims and hostile work environment claims.
In Latin, quid pro quo means something given in exchange for something else. In terms of sexual harassment, this can mean you are offered a promotion or position in return for sexual favors or going on a date with a supervisor. It could also mean that you are denied certain advantages or opportunities if you refuse to give in to these types of demands.
A hostile work environment is a situation in which an employee is made to feel threatened, uncomfortable or intimidated through certain actions of a co-worker or supervisor. This could involve telling offensive jokes, making unwelcome comments or gestures, displaying demeaning materials in the workplace or making unwanted advancements.
In either of these scenarios, a person could have grounds to file a sexual harassment claim against the offender and/or the employer that failed to properly address and resolve the situation.
However, there are many legal elements of these cases that must be in place for a claim to be successful. Understanding these requirements and taking the appropriate steps to build a case can be crucial in protecting yourself and your rights, which is why it is generally wise to enlist the help and guidance of an experienced employment law attorney.