Anyone who engages in discrimination or sexual harassment is in violation of the regulations guided by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, which expressly states that harassment of any form is prohibited under Hawaii’s fair employment law. Unlike other states, the laws regarding sexual harassment apply to any employer regardless of how many employees they have.
According to Hawaii state laws, what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace?
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be perpetrated in many different forms. One form is called “quid pro quo,” which is a legal term meaning “this for that.” If you are the victim of a quid pro quo sexual harassment, it means that someone has offered you something in exchange for a sexual favor. An example of this is when someone who has authority over you – or your position in the company – requests a sexual favor in exchange for some advantage that you gain within the company. In the same manner, quid pro quo can happen when someone makes a sexual request and either implicitly or explicitly makes it known that failure to comply might lead to your demotion, dismissal, or even to a poor work performance review.
You might also be the victim of sexual harassment if someone makes your work environment hostile. Lewd comments, derogatory jokes, pervasive and systematic unwelcome advances, nonconsensual touching, and intimidating or threatening sexually charged behaviors all can create a hostile work environment. To prove that the harassment you suffered led to a hostile work environment, the conduct in question must be pervasive and continuous – not just one incident.
Steps to take to end sexual harassment in the workplace
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is imperative that you let your employer, your supervisor, and the person who is harassing you know about the inappropriate behavior. You will want to file a claim with your employer, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which handles sexual harassment cases at the federal level.
You must also immediately hire a Hawaii sexual harassment lawyer – both to help you file the claims, and to ensure that you are following the procedures necessary to make the harassment stop. Hiring an attorney who specializes only in sexual harassment in the workplace is the best way for you to plead your case should you file a lawsuit against your employer to receive compensation. The more documentation you can provide your lawyer, the better.