Sexual harassment is a broad term that refers to situations where another person’s inappropriate conduct makes a worker feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Sexual harassment can also result in unfair treatment. Most people think of unwanted sexual advances when discussing this form of discrimination, but the truth is sexual harassment can take many forms.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, a federal law, specifically defines two major types of unlawful sexual harassment:
- Hostile Work Environments. A hostile work environment refers to a situation where discrimination and harassment have become so pervasive that it interferes with the victim’s ability to do their job.
- Quid Pro Quos. A quid pro refers to a scenario where someone asks for a sexual favor in exchange for some type of work-related advantage or opportunity. For example, a boss might tell a subordinate they will receive a promotion if they comply with a sexual request.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
You may be the victim of sexual harassment if:
- You are subject to frequent, inappropriate comments about your appearance
- You receive sexual text messages, emails, or instant messages
- You are asked about your sex life
- You are told about someone else’s sex life
- You are subject to frequent jokes or comments that are sexual in nature
- You are subject to frequent, inappropriate hugs, kisses, or other forms of physical contact
- You are the subject of rumors or gossip that is sexual in nature
- You are subject to sexist comments or jokes
Who Can Commit Sexual Harassment?
Your boss is not the only one who can commit sexual harassment. Anyone in your workplace can be a sexual harasser, even if they are not an employee. Again, the harasser does not need to be a person of the opposite sex for their conduct to qualify as sexual harassment. No matter the perpetrator, your employer has a legal responsibility to stop hostile work environments, meaning they must take action if you report misconduct.
For example, if a company client is sexually harassing you, you tell your boss about it, they do nothing, and the client continues to sexually harass you, you likely have a strong claim. It does not matter that the client is not technically an employee if you are being subject to sexual harassment in your workplace. If you are unsure whether you are being subject to a hostile work environment, our Washington, D.C. sexual harassment attorneys can assess your circumstances and advise whether you have a case.
Retaliation For Reporting Sexual Harassment
Retaliating against an employee for reporting sexual harassment is illegal, meaning you cannot be fired, demoted, given unfavorable work responsibilities, or otherwise treated adversely because you spoke out. Employers also cannot retaliate against employees for filing claims with government enforcement agencies. This does not mean your company will not act unlawfully, but you may have an additional claim if you suffer retaliation in addition to sexual harassment.
Experiencing Sexual Harassment? Call Now.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment and are looking to understand your rights, look no further than Pitre & Associates, LLC. After reviewing your situation and walking you through your options, our Washington, D.C. sexual harassment lawyers can help you file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your territory’s equivalent enforcement agency. Your satisfaction is important to us, and we will do everything possible to protect your interests. We are prepared to pursue all legal remedies and will fight to recover maximum compensation.
You only have a limited time to file a sexual harassment claim, so do not wait to contact us online or call (202) 759-6544. Flexible payment options are available.