What is Sexual Harassment?
Federal, state, and citywide laws all prohibit sexual harassment. While the definitions may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, sexual harassment can typically be categorized as either:
- Quid pro quo: demanding sexual favors in exchange for job stability or advancement, or
- Hostile work environment: a workplace environment that is sexually demeaning, hostile, or intimidating.
Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment. While most sexual harassment claims are made against supervisors or co-workers, other individuals (such as subcontractors and customers) can also be liable.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal sexual harassment laws (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts). Most (but not all) states have similar agencies that enforce state laws.
Elements of a Sexual Harassment Case
In order to win a sexual harassment claim, the alleged victim must prove his or her “prima facie case.” In other words, the victim must prove each and every legal element of a sexual harassment claim. Otherwise, the claim will be unsuccessful. Generally, the required elements of a sexual harassment claim are:
- The victim was a member of a protected class,
- He or she was subjected to unwelcome harassment based on his or her sex or gender,
- The harassment led to either a hostile work environment or a negative employment action (such as termination or demotion), and
- The employer is liable for the harassment.
What to do If You are Accused of Sexual Harassment
If you are accused of sexual harassment, you should immediately request the opportunity to obtain an attorney before you discuss the allegation. Contact us right away and let the experienced attorneys at the Strom Law Firm mount a vigorous sexual harassment defense on your behalf.