SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
There are two types of sexual harassment from which an employee is protected in an employment situation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The first type of sexual harassment is called quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo is Latin for "something given or received for something else". Quid pro quo sexual harassment in the employment circumstance means the employee was coerced into submitting to a supervisor's improper sexual conduct as a condition for the employee receiving a job benefit or avoiding a job detriment. A common example of this is when a manager/supervisor makes sexual advances on a subordinate and threatens retaliation if he or she is rebuffed.
The second type of sexual harassment is referred to as a hostile work environment. This arises when the employee is subjected to an unbearable work environment because of his or her sex. An example of this is a manager/supervisor making frequent sexual innuendos directed to an employee. A hostile work environment can also occur when a co-worker sexually harasses an employee, the harassed employee reports this to their manager/supervisor who does not take appropriate action. In order for an employee to prevail on a claim for hostile work environment, he or she must provide evidence that the conduct was so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person in his or her position would find the work environment to be hostile or abusive.
As in most situations, it is important to complain in writing to management or human resources so the employer has the opportunity to correct the problem.
PROTECT YOURSELF IN POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION MATTERS
The actions you take can seriously affect the outcome of any potential legal action. If you experience discrimination because of a "protected category" including your age, disability, race, national origin, religion, or sex (including sexual harassment), it is very important to document all the events at the time they occur, including what happened, the individuals involved, and the date and time of the occurrence.
It is also important to report your problems to management and/or human resources. Inform yourself to which individuals you are required to make such complaints. These complaints should be in writing as it is easy for employers to misconstrue or outright deny past verbal complaints you may have made. Complaining to family and friends may help you feel better, but your employer must be informed in order to have the opportunity to correct the problem.