In California and worldwide there are two types sexual harassment that occur in the workplace: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment. While each type of harassment occurs under different circumstances, both can be devastating to your current job or career.
Quid Pro Quo
The most serious form of sexual harassment is “quid pro quo,” which translates to “this for that.” Even one instance of this type of harassment is grounds for a harassment claim and should inspire disciplinary action toward the perpetrator.
In quid pro quo harassment, an employee is offered employment perks in exchange for sexual favors or threatened with dismissal if sexual requests are left unfulfilled. This type of harassment is usually carried out by a direct supervisor or someone in a position of power.
If you have been propositioned or manipulated in this way, be sure to document the behavior and report it to your company’s HR department as soon as possible.
In the event that your company does not have an HR department, you may need to contact an employment law attorney.
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment can be created by anyone you work with, but the environment is typically created over time. If someone’s actions are especially severe, such as unwanted and inappropriate touching, one instance may be enough to report.
Usually, though, one or more persons in your workplace will habitually make intimidating or demeaning comments towards you or other employees. When this kind of behavior becomes unbearable, or distracts from your work, you are likely experiencing a hostile work environment – even if the behavior is not directed at you, specifically.
Additionally, hostile work environments do not have to be sexual in nature. If the inappropriate behavior targets any of California’s protected classes, which include race, gender, and sexual orientation, among others, it may create a hostile work environment.
If you are sexually harassed, it is important to document the harassment and inform your employer, ideally according to their sexual harassment policy.
You may also want to file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If the harassment is especially severe, or your employers are not remedying the situation, involving an attorney may be your best option. At K2 Employment Law Group, we have dedicated our practice to fighting for employee rights in the workplace.
Sexual harassment is something you should never have to deal with, and we can help you put a stop to this behavior and hold the perpetrators responsible.
For a free, confidential consultation give us a call at (800) 590-7674.