Sexual Harassment: Need to Know

Among the thousands of people who claim to be sexually harassed in the workplace or some other professional environment, many of them do not know that they have been sexually harassed, or that they may be entitled to compensation for their emotional or physical hardship. The experienced attorneys at the Sexual Harassment Attorney Group have dealt with hundreds of cases that included abuse of workplace rules, discrimination, and harassment at work.

 What Exactly is Sexual Harassment?

Workplace Harassment, or workplace bullying of any kind is illegal, but it is only considered sexual if it falls between certain guidelines to determine if it is Sexual Harassment or not. The legal definition of sexual harassment is divided into two categories by United States Labor Laws: Hostile Work Environments and Tangible Employer Actions. Any sexual harassment falls into one, or both, of these two categories.

 Hostile Work Environment

The first is that of a hostile work environment, meaning that the general atmosphere of a workplace is directed at making an employee feel inadequate because of gender, or making him or her feel like they are there because of gender-related reasons, along with hurtful or hate speech and inappropriate comments about their gender. This hostile work environment is made by other fellow employees, and even other people that the victim comes into contact with professionally on a temporary or day-to-day basis. Even individuals that do not belong to the same company can inflict sexual harassment on the victim, as can individuals with no affiliation but that were invited there by the company, such as a guest speaker or a workshop director. Another important thing to know is that this hostility does not only include verbal abuse, like sexually suggestive comments on clothing worn by the victim, but also physical abuse, like groping or any other kind of inappropriate contact.

 Tangible Employer Action

The second categorical Sexual Harassment is a Tangible Employer Action. This encompasses the direct actions of supervisors, bosses and superiors in general. Like the previous category, sexual harassment is inflicted with both physical and verbal abuse. Verbal abuse can include solicitation of sexual services by the victim for the employer, or sexually suggestive comments on the employer’s part. Physical abuse can include groping, quick grabs or pokes, all the way up to attempted rape and rape itself. The main distinction this has from a hostile work environment is that it is inflicted onto the victim by a workplace superior, usually in private but also in public. The employer will usually invoke Quid Pro Quo, an archaic term that is said in order to justify their actions. These employer actions can be for any reason: the victim wanted a promotion or other assignment, the employer feels entitled to the victim, etc.

 Any Type of Sexual Harassment is Illegal

With these guidelines about what sexual harassment is, a good rule of thumb to use in these situations to determine if it really is sexual harassment or not is to ask yourself: “Does this have to do with my gender, and if so, is this also sexual in nature?” If the answer is yes to either of those questions, then contact the legal team at the Sexual Harassment Attorney Group right away, and we can begin to build a case for you or for another employee you are helping immediately. Call our Sexual Harassment hotline at (888) 759-1274 to speak with one our sexual harassment lawyers and tell them about your unfortunate indiscretion. Or, you can also e-mail us by clicking on this link and providing some information about what has happened to you or a fellow employee. With Labor Law Attorney Group, victims of sexual and workplace harassment have the law on their side.