Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – What Is It, and What Are My Options?

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – What Is It, and What Are My Options? Sexual harassment on the job is unacceptable and against the law. It knows no gender—a harasser can be a woman or a man, and the harasser doesn’t have to be a different gender than the person he or she is victimizing. A harasser can be a co-worker, a supervisor, or anyone in your workplace.

None of us should have to face or tolerate sexual harassment at work. Unfortunately, harassment is a common problem, and many employees find themselves also dealing with the fear of losing their jobs, retaliation, or being ostracized by their co-workers.

The law does protect workers who experience sexual harassment on the job, but victims should be aware of their rights and legal options. Here are some basic facts about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Types of sexual harassment

Typically, sexual harassment happens in one of two scenarios. The first is what we call “quid pro quo,” which involves a proposition of exchange. A few examples of quid pro quo include:

  • Requesting or demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or raise
  • Requesting or demanding sexual favors in exchange for not being fired

The second type of sexual harassment involves issues like intimidation, discrimination, or harassment. Some examples include:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Unwanted comments, jokes, or gestures
  • Transmitting, posting, or displaying sexual emails or pictures
  • Repeated unwanted requests for dates

There are many, many other examples of sexual harassment, and remember that both kinds of harassment are illegal.

Questions and answers about sexual harassment

What is the definition of sexual harassment?

At work, sexual harassment can be requests for sexual favors from a supervisor that are tied to promotions, pay, or other job-related situations. It can also come from co-workers or as part of a hostile work environment. It can be directed toward any gender, and is against the law.

Is sexual harassment seen as discrimination?

Yes. Because sexual harassment targets a victim based on their gender, it violates federal and state law. Gender is a protected category under civil rights law.

What can I do if I’m sexually harassed at work?

You have rights and you can fight back. Sexual harassment is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A sexual harassment and employment law attorney can help and advise you.

Is there anything specific I can do right now?

As soon as the harassment begins to occur, one of the most valuable things you can do is keep a log of the incidents. Record dates, names, descriptions of the incidents, and names of possible witnesses of the specific instances of harassment.

The sexual harassment attorneys at Taylor & Ring in Los Angeles specialize in representing employees who have been victimized on the job. Our experienced and skilled attorneys treat you with compassion but fight aggressively for your rights. Talk to us today about how we can help you with your potential case. You can reach us at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.


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