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What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and occurs when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is made a condition of employment. It is conduct that interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile environment sexual harassment.

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer or supervisor demands sexual favors in exchange for raises, promotions, or other perks, or threatens an employee for failure to provide sexual favors. The fact that you may have given in to those demands does not mean that you have no case. The key is that the sexual advances are unwanted, and it is usually in an effort to save his or her job.
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when the working environment is made hostile because of its sexual nature, such as photos, comments, jokes, or other acts of an offensive sexual nature, including physical touching which make the workplace intolerable.

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