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What’s Considered Sexual Harassment?

By: Virtus Law Group, Birmingham Alabama.


Sexual harassment claims can be brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a form of discrimination based on sex. There are two different categories in which sexual harassment claims typically fall: (1) quid pro quo harassment, or (2) a hostile work environment.


Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employee is given an ultimatum in which they much either submit to sexual demands or suffer an employment detriment, such as a demotion or termination.


An employee is subjected to a hostile work environment when unwelcome sexual conduct interferes with their ability to perform their job duties, regardless of whether the conduct provides a job benefit or detriment. In determining whether alleged misconduct was so pervasive as to create a hostile work environment, two things must be evaluated: (1) whether or not the alleged misconduct would have been offensive to a reasonable person, and (2) whether the alleged misconduct was offensive to the employee.


EEOC guidelines prohibit conduct constituting sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, any verbal conduct of a sexual nature, any physical conduct of a sexual nature, written or visual sexual conduct, and vulgar, crude, and sexist language. The U.S. Supreme Court has provided that an employee’s voluntary participation in the sexual relationship does not bar a cause of action as long as the initial conduct was unwelcome.


EEOC guidelines further provide that both the victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.


If you have been subjected to conduct that may be considered sexual harassment, reach out to our firm for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.


Founded in Birmingham, Alabama Virtus Law Group is a Personal Injury and Labor and Employment firm serving the people of Alabama.




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