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What is Sexual Harassment?

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With the recent string of new stories shedding light on persons in management and power being accused of numerous acts of sexual harassment, our workplace sexual harassment lawyers in South Jersey would like to detail what workplace sexual harassment looks like and what you should do in the event it happens to you.

Sexual harassment does not discriminate; males and females can be the victims of sexual harassment. And, sexual harassment is not always committed by a person of the opposite sex. Males can be sexually harassed by males; females can be sexually harassed by another female. Federal and state laws protect employees from sexual harassment at work. But, you need to complain to your employer, in order for anything to be done.

Types of Sexual Harassment

  • Quid Pro Quo – The Latin term “quid pro quo,” meaning, “something for something” is a form of sexual harassment that frequently involves a person of higher authority making sexual demands to subordinates in return for salary increases, better treatment on the job, etc.
  • Hostile Work Environment – In order for a workplace to fall under the category of a hostile work environment based on sex, the employee is subject to sexual innuendos, unwelcome advances, or offensive gender-related language that is sufficiently pervasive or severe from the perspective of a reasonable person of the same gender as the offended employee.

If you feel like you have been subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment or are in a hostile work environment based on sex, it may be time to speak to an attorney.

A Brief Overview of the Legal Requirements

  • Quid Pro Quo – Even if a person submits to the requests of the harasser, he or she is still entitled to file a claim. A victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment must show that the harasser made unwanted sexual advances or directed behavior of a sexual nature to him or her as a condition for receiving concrete employee benefits and/or for avoiding adverse or unfavorable employment actions.
  • Hostile Work Environment – Before pursuing any claim based on a hostile work environment, the employee must first indicate that the conduct is unwelcome. This can be done by asking the offending employee to stop the offensive behavior or communication. If this doesn’t work, employees should go to their supervisor or human resources and complain. The employee must show that the sexual harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and created an abusive environment. 

The Law Firm of Jacobson & Rooks, LLC handles quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment cases. If you are unsure if your case qualifies, please give our work sexual harassment attorneys of South Jersey a call today so we can get the justice you deserve!