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DuPage County sexual harassment attorneysMost working adults spend a great deal of time around co-workers. Understandably, sometimes sparks fly and an employee develops romantic feelings toward someone he or she works with. If you have found yourself in this situation you may wonder, “Should I ask my co-worker out on a date?” Dating in the workplace is a controversial subject. While there may be some situations in which dating your co-worker results in no negative consequences, beginning a romantic relationship with a colleague at work can sometimes lead to accusations of sexual harassment.

Dating a Subordinate Can Result in Allegations of Quid Pro Quo Harassment

The two types of sexual harassment addressed in the law are quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a person of authority such as a boss, supervisor, or manager implies or outright suggests that he or she will provide work-related benefits if a subordinate employee submits to his or her sexual requests. What many people do not understand is that a boss can be accused of quid pro quo sexual harassment even if he or she never actually explicitly states that he or she will offer employment, continued employment, or work perks in exchange for sexual contact. You can be accused of quid pro quo sexual harassment even if a subordinate that you are dating assumes that sexual favors are being traded for work benefits.

Hostile work environment sexual harassment refers to a situation in which offensive or sexual remarks and behavior make a work environment so intolerable that the harassed individual cannot perform work duties. In order to meet the legal definition of sexual harassment, hostile work environment harassment must be “severe” or “pervasive.” Asking a co-worker out on a date once will not meet the definition of harassment. However, if you repeatedly ask a co-worker out, it could trigger a sexual harassment claim.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysSexual harassment in the workplace has never been a more hotly-debated topic. There have been laws against inappropriate sexual behavior at work for decades. Discrimination on the basis of sex has been against the law in the U.S since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, many instances of sexual harassment have gone unchecked throughout the years, and many people’s lives have been negatively affected as a result.

Last year, the nation was taken by storm by the viral Twitter hashtag #MeToo as thousands of men and women shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault. During this time of controversy and change, it can be hard to know exactly what actions are acceptable at work and what are not. For example, should you date a co-worker? There are no easy answers, but there are some things you should keep in mind regarding romantic relationships at work.

Dating at Work When There Is a Power Differential Between the Employees

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree