The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), defines sexual harassment in the workplace as any unwelcome sexual advances or conduct that unreasonably interferes with a person’s ability to perform their job. Intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environments are also covered under the EEOC’s definition of sexual harassment. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is also considered a form of sex discrimination. Offensive jokes that are sexual in nature or inappropriate physical contact with another person are just two examples of what can be considered sexual harassment in the workplace.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Title VII recognizes two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. If a boss uses their authority to demand their subordinates to tolerate sexual harassment as a condition of getting or keeping their job or job benefits, it is a type of quid pro quo harassment. If this behavior is consistently encountered in the workplace, it can qualify as a hostile work environment.
Courts will use the following things to judge if a hostile work environment claim has merit:
- Was the offensive conduct verbal, physical, or both?
- What was the frequency of the offensive conduct?
- Was the conduct hostile or patently offensive?
- Was the suspected harasser a co-worker or supervisor?
- Did other co-workers partake in the harassment?
- Was the harassment aimed at more than one person or were you singled out?
To be successful in a sexual harassment case, you will need to prove the following things:
- You believe the workplace conduct was hostile, abusive, or offensive.
- A reasonable person in your position would also believe that the conduct of your workplace is hostile, abusive, or offensive.
How to Stop Sexual Harassment
If you experience sexual harassment, you should first try to put a stop to the behavior yourself. If your attempt to resolve the issue does not work, seek out an authority figure that you can take your complaint to. When you make your complaint, be sure to document it and any other instance of sexual harassment that you might continue to experience.
If the internal procedures you turn to don’t put a stop to the sexual harassment, you will need to file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state's human rights or civil rights enforcement agency. The agency you submit your complaint to will investigate and issue a "right to sue" letter if your claim is deemed to be valid.
Going through a sexual harassment case can be a very difficult and traumatizing experience. That is why you want to have a skilled attorney by your side who can protect your interests. Our lawyers are familiar with these types of cases and we will help you get through this. Let us put our skills and resources to work on your case today.
Contact our Dallas sexual harassment attorney to schedule your free consultation.