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Types of workplace sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2015 | Sexual Harassment |

Sexual harassment in Maryland workplaces is a problem that can interfere with a employee’s ability to work and have a negative impact on their career. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature. Requests for sexual favors or unwelcome sexual advances are considered sexual harassment.

There are two types of sexual harassment that are usually referenced in workplace sexual harassment lawsuits. The first type of sexual harassment is ‘quid pro quo,” which is Latin for ‘one thing in return for another.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor provides employment benefits in exchange for an employee’s acceptance of unwelcome sexual advances. The harasser may also take away employment benefits if the employee objects to their sexual advances.

The other type of sexual harassment takes the form of a hostile work environment. This is created when an employee is subjected to frequent sexual comments or physical contact that is not welcome. A worker who is exposed to sexual material in the workplace may also build a sexual harassment case by claiming that they were forced to work in a sexualized environment.

A hostile work environment case may involve sexual harassment from supervisors, coworkers, customers or managers. On the other hand, a quid pro quo case must involve a supervisor because the supervisor has the ability to provide or withhold employment benefits. Employees who believe that they were subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace might want to talk to a employment law attorney about the details of their case. Legal counsel may be able to help determine whether certain workplace incidents qualify as sexual harassment for the purpose of filing a claim.