There are generally two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law, and both are prohibited. Sexual harassment in the workplace does not have to be tolerated and it is important for those experiencing it to know how they can protect themselves.
To be considered sexual harassment, there are some general considerations to take into account. The conduct must be offensive and unwelcome by the victim. Even if the victim is not economically harmed or does not lose their job, the conduct may still be considered harassment. In addition, the party committing the harassment can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or a non-employee. Victims can be both men and women, and the harassment does not need to take place between opposite sexes.
There are two categories of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a person in authority requests sexual favors in exchange for not punishing the employee, such as a demotion or firing, or for rewarding the employee, such as a promotion or raise. A hostile work environment may be created by persistent offensive sexual behavior in the workplace.
A variety of factors may be considered to determine if the behavior is considered prohibited sexual harassment. There are important legal protections in place for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and it is useful for victims to be aware that they are protected and to be familiar with the resources available to them.