Types of Sexual Harassment

In one survey, 55% of transgender, genderqueer, and gender questioning students at USC reported experienced sexual harassment. Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, sexual harassment is prevalent in Los Angeles. It’s important for everyone to understand the types of sexual harassment and to report the incident when it happens.

What Are the Main Types of Sexual Harassment?

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is classified as discrimination. When it occurs in the workplace, the incident is broken up into several types of harassment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

This type of harassment usually occurs between a supervisor or manager and an employee. Typically, it involves the individual in the position of power to ask for sexual favors in exchange for a workplace benefit. The gender of the victim is irrelevant, as this type of harassment can happen to women or men and between the same sexes.

For example, a manager could offer an employee better shifts if they commit a sexual act. Other common benefits include pay raises and advancements in position.

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

With this type of harassment, any of the following can occur:

  • An individual threatens or intimidates another
  • An individual makes inappropriate jokes or comments to another
  • An individual makes repeat sexual advances to another

For the behavior to qualify as sexual harassment, it must affect the employee’s ability to do their job. Usually, this type of harassment involves offensiveness or hostility towards one employee or a group of employees. For instance, one employee could say derogatory insults to another employee. Or, one individual could make inappropriate drawings and send them to another person.

If there is no consent for this behavior and it impacts the performance of the victim, then the incident is sexual harassment. Therefore, the victim could take legal action against the offender or the employer.

Indirect Sexual Harassment

There is another type of harassment that does not involve the direct victim. Known as indirect sexual harassment, this type of incident occurs when someone witnesses the harassment and is offended.

Consider this example. An employee is at their desk when another employee walks by and tells a lewd joke. Although the joke wasn’t directed at the first employee, they were still exposed to it. Indirect sexual harassment could also involve seeing a sexual e-mail sent to someone else or passing a computer with a sexual screen saver or background photo. It could also occur is someone watches the harassment of another individual.

Seeking Legal Assistance

If you think that you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment, you deserve justice. But this isn’t easy, and often requires the guidance of a seasoned sexual harassment attorney.

First, your lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not your situation qualifies as sexual harassment. There’s a fine line between harassment and acceptable behavior. Before you begin your journey to justice, you should be certain that you have a case.

Then, your attorney will be able to tell you about your options. There are several steps you may need to take to improve your chances of a positive outcome. With an experienced attorney by your side, you’ll be able to take those steps and hold the offending party accountable.

Everyone deserves to feel safe in the workplace. Learn more about how Spivak Law can help you feel protected in the workplace and prevent sexual harassment from becoming the norm.

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