If an employee is sexually harassed or bullied within their place of employment, quite frequently the harassed employee feels violated, very similar to being a victim of a house robbery, or other types of overt forms of crime. If the victim of sexual harassment was approached with unwelcome conduct, i.e., touching, groping or, other forms of physical intimidation, these actions can quickly turn the situation into sexual assault, which is a serious crime, in just about every state. These actions are also against the law in many states, including the civil rights statue of 1964, which is a federal law, governing all states.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment generally involves two different methods of negative conduct:
- Quid Pro Quo: The employer or managerial authority insists on basically, “This for that” which is generally of a sexual nature. A simple exchange of sex for a salary increase, promotion, or simply to keep their job.
- Hostile Work Environment: The employer who is aware of employee’s discomfort & dissatisfaction with the employee’s reduced salary, or hostile work environment, where sexually inappropriate behavior was reported, creates an environment so hostile that the employee, can’t fulfill their job requirements, which is often paralleled by mental anguish & depression. This is a hostile work environment.
Victim’s legal statutes:
The two types of sexual harassment listed above are violations of the employee’s rights, and are both considered forms of illegal discrimination under the civil rights law of 1964 & Title XII, both federal statues, and also covered under individual states statutes.
The downside of the above example implies that harassment complaints in many cases are difficult to prove in court. In many cases, it is, “He said vs. She said”, without proper documentation, witnesses, or proper managerial, or HR contact. The good news is once a complaint is formalized, the employee will be covered under title Xll or the state equivalent agency (such as the DFEH in California), preventing retaliatory behavior from the employer.