What Is Sexual Harassment?
Kane County Workplace Discrimination Attorneys
Sexual harassment is a type of employment-related discrimination that is based upon verbal or physical abuse of a sexual nature. Those who have been victimized by sexual harassment often suffer long-lasting negative effects, including the inability to perform job functions adequately, psychological trauma, and, in many cases, an overwhelming need to quit their jobs to avoid continued harassment. If you believe that you may have been the victim of sexual harassment, an experienced employment law attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC can help you understand your rights under the law.
There are a number of state and federal statutes that address sexual harassment. The most prominent can be found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII expressly prohibits two forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
When a manager or supervisor request sexual favors in return for a job-related benefit, it is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. "Quid pro quo" is a phrase borrowed from Latin that translates to English as "something for something" or "this for that." The request may be in the form of a direct or implied threat that you will be denied a raise, promotion, perk, or another advantage if you do not engage in the requested conduct.
Filing a claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment does not require you to prove that you were economically harmed by the supervisor's behavior. You will only need to show that you were harassed by your supervisor, you did not welcome his or her requests, and that an element of your job could be impacted by your response. If you can prove these three things, your employer can be held liable for sexual harassment committed by its representative.
Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment
A hostile work environment can be created when the atmosphere of a workplace is such that a reasonable person would find it abusive. Hostile environment sexual harassment can also occur when the harassment negatively affects the victim's job performance. Though it can be an isolated incident, this form of sexual harassment often occurs over a period of weeks, months, or longer, and involves more than one action by one or more perpetrators.
Hostile environment sexual harassment can include:
- Sexual advances by an abuser or demands for sexual favors;
- Unwanted physical contact between the abuser and victim;
- Sexually-charged comments made toward the victim;
- Obscene or pornographic material placed where the victim can see it; and
- Peeping or spying on a victim in a washroom, locker area, or changing room.
For your claim of hostile environment sexual harassment to be successful, the court must find that a reasonable person would find the behavior to be objectionable. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can help you analyze the circumstances of your case and assist you in filing your claim.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or any other type of discrimination in the workplace, contact the offices of MKFM Law. Our skilled employment discrimination attorneys know the law and will handle your case with the compassion and care you deserve. Call 630-665-7300 today. We are proud to serve clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Will County, and Kendall County.