Different Types of Sexual Harassment
One of the things that sexual harassment lawyers have to ascertain when a client approaches them is what type of sexual harassment has the person suffered? It may be surprising for you to discover that there are different types of sexual harassment recognized under California law.
While there are many forms that sexual harassment may assume – such as verbal harassment, suggestive body language or inappropriate physical contact – when sexual harassment lawyers speak about what type of sexual harassment your case may fall under we are referring to one of two types:
Quid pro quo sexual harassment
By its definition quid pro quo sexual harassment can only be committed by a superior over a subordinate i.e. someone in a position of authority over another. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is most often seen when a superior makes expressed or implied demands for sexual favors of their subordinate in exchange for a benefit such as an increase in pay, a promotion or any other career orientated favor. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can also be present where someone wants to avoid something that will be to his or her detriment, such as a demotion or lay off. An example of quid pro quo sexual harassment could be a supervisor telling their employee that they would have a higher chance of promotion if they dressed sexier or a manager implying that for an employees job is dependent on a sexual favor. When it comes to quid pro quo sexual harassment it is important to bare in mind that if you submit to the sexual advance or comment made by your superior you are, in fact, still able to lay a complaint of sexual harassment.
Hostile environment sexual harassment
The second type of sexual harassment that lawyers work with is called hostile work environment harassment. This type of sexual harassment involves the use of sexual or discriminatory conduct within the work place that creates an interference with a person’s ability to properly perform their job. This type of sexual harassment can also be present where the work environment has become an offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening space through the sexual or discriminatory conduct of someone within that environment. Another manifestation of hostile work environment harassment is where an individual’s psychological well-being is negatively affected by the inappropriate sexual or discriminatory conduct of another. Examples of hostile work environment harassment include:
- Repeated requests for a date
- Intentionally blurring lines between professional and personal relationships
- Verbal, physical or textual (e.g. emails) sexual jokes and innuendos
- Suggestive body language
While a superior can only commit quid pro quo sexual harassment over a subordinate, anyone within the working environment can commit hostile work environment harassment.
It is important to note that as an employee you can make a claim of sexual harassment under either or both sexual harassment types. If you feel that you may have been a victim of sexual harassment contact the trusted and experienced sexual harassment lawyers at California Legal Team today for help.