What Types Of Sexual Harassment Can Be Grounds For A Lawsuit Against Your Employer?
Awareness is key to combating sexual harassment at work. You need to be able to recognize the different forms of sexual harassment in order to stand up for yourself and respond to any unwelcome sexual harassment with dignity.
If you believe that you have been subjected to inappropriate behavior, our attorneys at Obagi Law Group, P.C. will evaluate your particular case to determine whether or not you have valid grounds to sue for sexual harassment.
Schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer to discuss your case and understand your legal rights.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome and inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment for the harassed individual(s). According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), examples of sexual harassment include:
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Other types of physical or verbal behavior of a sexual nature
The harassed can file a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC when the harasser’s conduct does one or more of the following:
- Creates a hostile or offensive work environment
- Becomes a condition of employment (or results in an adverse employment decision)
- Interferes with the harassed person’s ability to work
Contrary to popular belief, the harasser does not necessarily have to be a person’s employer in order to have grounds to file an EEOC complaint. Generally, you can file a sexual harassment claim if you become a victim of unwelcome and inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature at work regardless of the harasser’s:
- Job title
In fact, you do not necessarily need to be the target of sexual harassment for it to create a hostile or offensive work environment.
Forms of Sexual Harassment at Work
You need to recognize the different forms of sexual harassment at work to be able to take appropriate measures against the harasser in a timely manner. When it comes to filing a sexual harassment claim with the EEOC, you will have to prove one of the following:
- The harasser’s conduct created a hostile work environment; or
- You are a victim of quid pro quo harassment at work
Most sexual harassment claims are filed on the grounds of the creation of a hostile work environment. Common examples of behaviors of a sexual nature that may create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work environment are:
- Unwelcome touching
- Inappropriate hugging
- Unwanted massages (such as the shoulder massage)
- Unsolicited sexual advances
- Using an inappropriate expression when referring to an employee or coworker (e.g., “baby,” “gorgeous,” etc.)
- Staring at an employee or coworker
- Making inappropriate jokes or comments of a sexual nature
- Displaying or distributing images or videos of a sexual nature
- Discussing sex life in front of everyone
As a rule of thumb, the harasser’s conduct must be more than an isolated incident or teasing to be considered unlawful sexual harassment.
What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves a person in a position of power (e.g., an employer, manager, or supervisor). This form of sexual harassment occurs when pay, benefits, position, or other employment opportunities are conditioned on the worker’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances.
For example, an employer offering an employee a pay raise in exchange for a sexual favor constitutes quid pro quo harassment.
If you believe that you have grounds to pursue a sexual harassment complaint because of a hostile work environment or quid pro quo harassment, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at Obagi Law Group, P.C. are committed to helping you protect your legal rights. Call 424-284-2401 to receive a consultation today.