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Understanding Sexual Harassment

You should never feel uncomfortable, threatened, or coerced in the workplace. Unfortunately, many employees are faced with these feelings every day. If you find yourself faced with sexual manipulation or an inappropriate work environment, you may be the victim of sexual harassment at work.

To determine whether you are experiencing workplace sexual harassment, let’s examine the types of harassment. If you are still unsure by the end of this blog, or have any questions about your rights or a possible case, our attorneys at May, Rammel & Wells are here for you.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

In Latin, “quid pro quo” literally means “this for that.” In this type of sexual harassment, your employer or supervisor might offer you a promotion or special work benefit in exchange for sexual favors. Another situation that might arise is your boss threatening to fire you if you do not comply with their sexual requests. One instance of quid pro harassment is serious enough to warrant corrective action by your employer. If you do not have the protections of a large company, or the HR department fails to remedy the situation, you may be able to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Hostile Work Environment

If someone’s inappropriate words, actions, or advances begin interfering with your work performance, you may be experiencing a hostile work environment. While anyone you work with making sexually obscene comments or unwelcome sexual advances is considered harassment, sexual harassment doesn’t have to be of a sexual nature. If a pair of coworkers make sexist comments all day, and that behavior distracts you from doing your job, for example, you may also be experiencing sexual harassment.

A hostile work environment can occur when anyone’s protected characteristics are threatened. Protected characteristics include:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability

In some cases, a comment or action may be severe enough to inspire punitive action. In most cases, however, an act of teasing, offhanded comment, or other isolated incidents will not be considered harassment.

Filing a Claim

If you have been affected by quid pro quo harassment or suffer from a hostile workplace, you may feel like you are out of options – especially if you have already reported the situation to your employer.

Fortunately, state and federal employment laws are in place to protect you and attorneys like ours are here to help you uphold them.

Don’t suffer in silence or tolerate injustices. Let us help by calling (208) 623-8021 or requesting a consultation today.


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