#MeToo in the Workplace: Dealing with Sexual Harassment at Work

Posted by on Aug 5, 2019 in Business Law | 0 comments

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, hundreds of brave, outspoken women and men have come out to tell their own personal stories of experience sexual assault and sexual harassment. Their stories have inspired countless others and inspired a culture of change in how women are treated by men in power.

Unfortunately, many still experience sexual harassment on a daily level, whether that is at school or just out and about. And the workplace is absolutely no exception. If you’re experiencing workplace sexual harassment, the first thing you need to know is that you’re absolutely not alone.

Keep reading to learn about the various types of workplace harassment, and what you can do to protect yourself and others.

Forms of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sadly, there are many different types of sexual harassment that can manifest themselves in the workplace. Below are brief examples of sexual harassment you and your loved ones could possibly experience while on the clock. There are two main forms of workplace sexual harassment recognized under the law.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a higher up employment threatens to make employment decisions (such as hiring, firing, promotion) based on another employee’s willingness to perform sexual favors. For example, if a supervisor promises an employee a promotion in exchange for a sexual favor — that is quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo means “something for something” in Latin.

Hostile Workplace Environment

The other form of sexual harassment occurs through the creation of a hostile environment. This occurs when sexual harassment becomes so severe that it creates a work environment that is made so hostile, intimidating, unwelcoming for the employee that it makes the environment unpleasant. An example of this would be one employee being subjected to sexual jokes daily by their coworkers.

Proving Harassment at the Workplace

With most situations, there are certain elements that must be proven to illustrate that harassment is actually happening at work. In order to prove your case, you must prove the following elements:

  • Involve discrimination against a protected class: The behavior in question must revolve around either your sex, gender identity, race, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other protected class.
  • Involve offensive conduct: The behavior must be deemed offensive based on societal standards.
  • Be unwelcome: Behavior constituting harassment is unwelcome. Jokes involving sensitive material that one behavior does not find offensive and welcomes would not be considered unwelcome under this rule.
  • Affect the ability to work: The individual being harassed must experience such severe and pervasive harassment that their ability to work effectively in said workplace has been impeded.

The best thing to do is reach out to an attorney like the hard-working folks at The Melton Law Firm, that can help you prove these above elements. After proving your case, an attorney will be able to help you win back the damages you deserve.

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