SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK
Sexual harassment in the workplace occurs in all occupations and at all levels. Its victims include both men and women and the harasser can be the same sex as the victim. The impact of sexual harassment is devastating to victims and to workplace culture and morale. At Swartz Law, we believe that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in the workplace, which is why we fight tirelessly for victims of sexual harassment. Attorney Tara Swartz has years of experience representing victims of sexual harassment and as a result understands the sensitive nature of these claims. She is skilled at resolving them swiftly and confidentially.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can take many forms, including unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and repeated demeaning or illicit sexual jokes or comments. Sexual harassment is unlawful whether it is perpetrated by your supervisor, a co-worker, or a customer. There are two types of sexual harassment claims under the law – quid pro quo (Latin for ‘this for that’) and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when submission to sexual advances or favors is required to obtain job benefits such as a pay raise or promotion, or rejection of such conduct results in adverse job actions such as a reduction in pay, a demotion, or termination. This type of harassment is commonly perpetrated by a supervisor, manager or other agent of an employer with the authority to make employment decisions which impact your job. It is a gross abuse of power and employers are held strictly liable for such conduct under the law.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment claims arise when derogatory, stereotypical or humiliating comments and ‘jokes’ occur repeatedly in the workplace such that it creates a hostile, offensive or intimidating work environment. Whether the harassment you are enduring rises to the level that the law recognizes as constituting a legal claim depends on its severity, recurrence, and pervasiveness. One incident, such as a comment by a co-worker that ‘you are a tease’ or a co-worker showing a sexually explicit photo to others at work will not likely create a claim. An extreme act, however, such as an assault may be sufficient standing alone. How many incidents you must endure, for how long, and how drastic of an impact those incidents must have on your work environment is case-specific and requires evaluation by an expert.
Due to the sensitive nature of sexual harassment and fear of retribution victims often remain silent in their jobs far too long. If you are experiencing sexually demeaning comments or conduct of any kind you should seek assistance from an expert immediately.