Denver, CO- Sexual harassment is a type of inappropriate behavior that men and women can experience in their workplace and on college or university campuses. Studies indicate that between 40 to 60 percent of women experience some form of sexual harassment at least once in their lives. Sexual harassment takes one of two forms and can have negative and long-lasting affects on the victims.
There are two types of sexual harassment the law recognizes. They are hostile work environment and quid pro quo.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment:
This type of sexual harassment occurs when a boss, supervisor or coworker subjects another to unwanted sexual advances, touching and comments. Hostile work environment sexual harassment can affect the victim’s performance and will erode the morale of all employees if the behavior is repeated and pervasive. In the worst cases, the mental and physical health of the victim is affected, and they may be forced to quit their jobs if the harassment is not stopped.
Hostile work environment harassment can include:
- Personal questions of a sexual nature
- Physical conduct that is sexual or degrading to any reasonable person
- Any sexually explicit or offensive pictures or literature that is in plain sight of other employees
- Comments about a person’s body or body parts
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment:
Quid pro quo is a Latin term which means “this for that.” When talking about sexual harassment, quid pro quo means the victim is offered something such as a promotion in exchange for sexual favors. Higher level employees such as CEOs and supervisors are typically the perpetrators of quid pro quo sexual harassment. For example, if a supervisor offers an employee more hours or a raise in exchange for a sexual favor that would be considered quid pro quo sexual harassment.
If an employee initially submits to the request initially, but changes their mind, they can still file a formal sexual harassment complaint.
Often, the individuals who report incidents of harassment find they are punished for speaking out, this is called retaliation. An employee who files a formal complaint may find themselves the subject of ridicule, have their hours cut or they can even be fired. Retaliation is common consequence of filing a formal sexual harassment complaint, but is also illegal just like the sexual harassment, and is typically easier to prove in court.
Employees who are subjected to sexual harassment don’t have to put up with the abuse and should file a formal complaint with their employer. The employer then has the opportunity to investigate the employee’s complaint and take corrective actions if the allegations are true.
However many employers fail to take the necessary corrective actions. When an employer ignores their employees’ complaints, the victim or victims have legal grounds to file a formal sexual harassment suit and seek compensation for their emotional distress and loss of wages.
Individuals who want to pursue a sexual harassment suit should contact a Denver sexual harassment attorney to build a strong case on their behalf and assure they receive the compensation they deserve.