Employment Law & Litigation
Sexual harassment can be harassment of a sexual nature (such as overt comments, sexual gestures, unwelcome advances, or requests for sexual favors) or it can be harassment based on a person's sex or gender (such as offensive comments about all members of a gender in general).
Although most people think of sexual harassment as a man harassing a woman, it can also include a woman sexually harassing a man, or the victim and harasser can be members of the same sex. Another misconception is that sexual harassment is only illegal if it comes from a manager or supervisor. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is always illegal, even if it comes from coworkers or non-employees, such as clients or customers.
Generally, there are two categories of sexual harassment: "Hostile Work Environment" and "Quid Pro Quo."
Hostile Work Environment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive working environment or is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the work environment and affects a person’s ability to do his or her job. Again, the harasser can be anyone in the workplace, including coworkers and non-employees, such as clients or customers.
Examples of verbal sexual harassment
Offensive jokes or stories that are sexual in nature or based on a gender stereotype
Comments about parts of a person’s body
Discussing or spreading rumors about someone's sex life
Making sexual requests
Examples of non-verbal sexual harassment
- Stalking, cornering, or isolating someone in a sexually intimidating manner
Displaying offensive pictures or items of a sexual nature
Making offensive gestures
Examples of physical sexual harassment
- Unwelcome touching
- Physical assault
- Standing within an unnecessarily close proximity to someone
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo sexual harassment (meaning “this for that”) occurs when a supervisor states or implies that an employee's job security, beneﬁts, or favorable working conditions are contingent upon accepting the supervisor's sexual advances. It may also involve actual or threatened retaliation if the employee does not agree to the request or if the employee complains to an appropriate authority about the supervisor's conduct.
Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include:
A supervisor requests sexual favors from an employee in return for a raise, a promotion, or a positive job review
A supervisor tells an employee that a promotion is likely if he or she goes on a date with the supervisor
- A supervisor gives bad or unwanted shifts to an employee because he or she rejected the supervisor's sexual advances
Contact a San Diego Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
Contact the Law Office of Zachary S. Schumacher to learn more about your rights and remedies under the law. The initial consultation is always free and will remain confidential. Many of our cases can be handled for little or no cost upfront, and we regularly take cases on a contingency basis, which means we get our attorney's fees as a percentage of the recovery when we win the case at trial or settlement.