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- Articles covering things like Quid Pro Quo Situations, Hostile Work Environments, Workplace Retaliation, and Employer Liability.
Harassment laws set forth two primary types of inappropriate sexual actions in the workplace:
- quid pro quo harassment
- creation of a hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (via Supreme Court rulings) labels quid pro quo harassment as the demand for sexual favors in exchange for employment, a promotion or another benefit. The requirement for sexual favors in exchange for a benefit can be either explicitly stated or implied by a person within the company. In a quid pro quo situation, the targeted person will suffer a negative outcome, like a denial of employment, if the sexual act is not performed.
Hostile Work Environment
Harassment in the workplace does not have to be a clear request for sexual favors. Actions that make a person feel derided because of gender could also cross legal lines. The negative conduct might interfere with the person’s ability to perform a job. An atmosphere of intimidation might also be created by illegal conduct.
When harassment occurs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recommends the victim to directly inform the harasser of his or her dislike of the conduct. When possible, the victim should also file an official complaint with the employer.
Once a complaint is made, the employer must not retaliate against the employee. Retaliation could include dismissing the employee, changing the work schedule, demotion or some other type of reactive action.
An attorney evaluating the potential responsibility of an employer will want to know if the employer had knowledge of the offensive conduct or should have been reasonably capable of knowing about it. If an employer knew or should have known and failed to correct the behavior, the employer could be held responsible for the conduct of employees. An employment lawyer advising a victim would want documentation about the workplace behavior and any employer responses to complaints.
An attorney can help an employee who believes they are being sexually harassed at work. If an employer fails to respond to an employee’s complaint, an employment attorney could make the employer aware in writing. Should the matter continue without being remedied, an attorney may file a claim with the EEOC on behalf of the employee.
(Reference: the LawInfo website)