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Sexual harassment at work: How to identify the signs

Sexual harassment is a type of workplace behavior that (1) is sexualized or sexual in nature and (2) makes someone feel uncomfortable. Whether verbal or physical, a court might construe a specific behavior -- especially if it is repeated -- as sexual harassment and take action to protect the victim. When evaluating a case, courts generally classify sexual harassment into two primary types: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo: This type of sexual harassment may involve a manager or supervisor asking an employee to perform a sexual act or go on a date in exchange for an employment benefit -- like a promotion, raise or bonus. The request could also come with the threat of punishment if the employee refuses to comply. Generally, the manager or supervisor will use their power over the employee to manipulate or pressure them into complying with the request.

Hostile work environment: This type of sexual harassment may involve a general workplace culture that supports demeaning, sexualized jokes, sexual comments, viewing of pornography, and inappropriate behavior. To qualify as a hostile work environment, the behavior or comments must be re-occurring, and sufficient to cause the victim to feel offended, intimidated or uncomfortable at work.

While sexual harassment is a problem in many workplaces, employees sometimes make false claims when no sexual harassment has occurred. Therefore, courts take time to evaluate each case on the basis of factual evidence before deciding the matter. Whether you were the victim of sexual harassment or someone in your company has been falsely accused of sexual harassment, our law firm is available to help you.

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