Sexual harassment in the workplace is outlawed in every state. I found that there is a wonderful resource online dedicated to educating workers and employers about the definition of sexual harassment and providing advice for how to overcome tricky situations.
Sexual harassment is considered to be sex discrimination and may include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal of physical misconduct in the workplace. There are three components to sexual harassment that make it blatantly illegal in the workplace:
1. If a worker’s job depends on the sexual behavior.
2. Is raises or promotions depend on a worker’s consent to sexual behavior.
3. If the harassment creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment that prevents a worker from doing their job.
It is important to note that not all sexual harassment is defined in the same way. In fact, there are two distinct forms of it. The first form is called quid pro quo, which means, “this for that.” With quid pro quo sexual harassment, an employer or supervisor will make sexual advances or demands upon an employee in order to receive a job benefit or in order to prevent a negative job-related action, such as being fired.
The second form of sexual harassment (and the most common) is called “hostile environment.” A hostile environment is created when sexual conduct creates an offensive, uncomfortable, or discriminatory work environment. In order to prove that a situation has created a hostile environment, a plaintiff must prove that the behavior is harassing and directed only at one sex. It must also be frequent, repeated and unwelcome.
State and Federal law also says that discrimination based on a person’s sex could also be considered sexual harassment, even if that discrimination is not sexual. For example, it is sexual harassment if a person comments that another cannot do his or her job because of his or her sex.