The Kentucky Civil Rights Act holds any employer or business with eight or more workers accountable to ensure that their work environment is both safe and non-threatening and that no one is discriminated against based on their gender. It’s not limited to just being a male-on-female crime, either; “sexual harassment” is a term that can include both sexes and even same-sex discrimination.
Sexual harassment can come in many forms and be imposed on workers in different ways. Any misconduct of a sexual nature that is meant to intimidate, threaten, or make someone feel uncomfortable can be considered sexual harassment. But to file a sexual harassment claim, the misconduct has to be more than just one incident – it has to be a series of behaviors that make someone feel fearful or threatened enough to create a hostile work environment, where a person cannot perform in the capacity that they should.
Behaviors that are considered sexually harassing are things like nonconsensual touching, unwelcome sexual advances, derogatory statements or remarks, sexually explicit images or photographs, and sexual innuendos. Creating a “hostile work environment” involves someone pervasively and repeatedly engaging in behaviors that make another person uncomfortable.
Another form of sexual harassment is when someone who holds an authority position above an employee sexually propositions them or asks for a sexual favor in exchange for either granting them some perk or advancement within the company. It might also involve someone making a sexual advance and either implicitly or explicitly making it known that if the worker does not comply, then they might be subject to negative consequences such as termination, the loss of a promotion, or even a demotion.
If someone bases your work advancement on you giving in to their request for a sexual act or favor, that is legally referred to as “quid pro quo” sexual harassment and is illegal, according to Kentucky’s sexual harassment laws and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.