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Sexual Harassment Legal Questions

Some of the employee rights areas are quite complex, and cannot be adequately covered in general FAQs. Further detail and clarification may be obtained by contacting Harrell & Harrell. Below you will find a helpful collection of some of the most common questions that may serve as an introduction.

The following are frequently asked questions and answers regarding sexual harassment.


Click on any question below to see the answer.

1) What is quid pro quo?

ANSWER: The demand for sexual favors can be express, e.g. "If you go to bed with me, I will make sure you keep your job or get a raise", or it can be implied from unwelcomed physical conduct such as touching, grabbing or fondling.

2) What must I prove to prevail in a cause of action for quid pro quo sexual harassment?

ANSWER: You must show that an individual explicitly or implicitly conditioned a job, a job benefit, or the absence of a job detriment on an employee's acceptance of sexual conduct.

3) How can I prove the sexual conduct was unwelcome?

ANSWER: You may show that the conduct was unwelcome, for example, by showing:

  • emotional distress;
  • deteriorating job performance;
  • you avoided the harasser;
  • you told friends and/or family of the harassment; and/or
  • you told the harasser or other company representative of the harassment.
4) Who can be held responsible if I am the victim of sexual harassment at work?

ANSWER: Both the employer and employees are liable for sexual harassment.

5) Is my employer still responsible if the harasser is a co-worker?

ANSWER: If the demand for sexual favors is made by a co-worker with no power to affect your employment opportunities, you cannot claim quid pro quo harassment.

However, you can claim hostile work environment, and an employer may be held liable for the conduct of its employee if the employer knew or should have known of the employee's conduct and failed to take prompt remedial action to stop the harassment.

6) What is "hostile work environment" sexual harassment?

ANSWER: As an employee, you have a right to work in an environment that is free of discrimination, intimidation, insult and ridicule.

You have a potential claim for hostile work environment if the sexual harassment unreasonably interferes with your work performance or creates an offensive or intimidating work environment.

In order to have a claim for hostile work environment, you must be able to prove that there was more than a single incident of harassment. You may also have to show that the sexual conduct was unwelcome.

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