What is "Sexual Harassment?"
Sexual Harassment Attorney Serving DuPage, Kendall and Will Counties
Sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination based physical or verbal abuse of a sexual nature. The negative affects of sexual harassment can include the inability of the victim to adequately perform their job, psychological damage, ultimately the feeling that they need to quit their job to avoid the harassment. An experienced employment law attorney can help you determine your rights if you are the victim of sexual harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit two primary categories of sexual harassment. Quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
If a supervisor conditions an employment-related benefit on a sexual favor that is called quid pro quo sexual harassment. The supervisor may make a direct or indirect threat that the employee will not get a raise, promotion, or other benefit if the employee does not engage in the sexual conduct requested.
If you are the victim of quid pro quo harassment it is not necessary for you to prove you were actually financially harmed by the harassment. You need only prove that your supervisor harassed you, that some aspect of your job could be affected by your response, and that you did not welcome the sexual request made of you. If this is proven, your employer can be held liable because the perpetrator is a representative of the company.
Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment
A hostile environment caused by sexual harassment occurs when the sexual harassment is so severe or pervasive that it creates a working environment which a reasonable person would find abusive or when the harassment interferes with the victim's job performance. This type of sexual harassment usually occurs over an extended period of time and involves multiple acts by the abuser or abusers. However, this type of harassment can be a single incident that is sufficiently abusive or threatening.
Hostile environment sexual harassment can include actual sexual advances, physical contact between the perpetrator and victim, sexual remarks directed at the victim, sexually oriented email sent to the victim, pornographic material placed in a location where it can be seen by the victim, requests or demands for sexual favors, or watching a co-worker in a bathroom, locker room, or dressing room.
Hostile environment sexual harassment is judged on an objective standard. The question to be answered by the court is whether a reasonable person would find the conduct objectionable. This means that not all conduct will rise to the level of hostile environment harassment. The court will consider the entire incident or incidents in making a determination of whether the conduct violates the law. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help you determine whether you have a claim.
Our employment discrimination attorneys know all the applicable laws—those related to employment discrimination and those covered by other legislation. Contact a knowledgeable employment discrimination lawyer at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, to discuss filing an employment discrimination claim. Call 630-665-7300.