Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

by mdp | May 26th, 2011

Employee Legal Rights Regarding Sexual Harassment

harassmentSexual harassment is a persistent problem in today’s workplace. Both men and women can find themselves being propositioned at work or working in a sexually hostile work environment. There are state and federal laws that protect employees from both of these situations. In Tennessee, victims of any type of sexual harassment can turn to Nashville attorneys at Ponce Law for legal advice.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment literally means “this for that,” and occurs when you are offered or denied employment opportunities based upon your willingness to engage in sexual advances, favors or behavior.

Some examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment scenarios include:

  • A manager offering an employee a promotion if he/she agrees to sleep with him/her.
  • An employee being disciplined for ending a work romance or refusing to start a work romance.
  • Job duties or expectations change after an employee rejects sexual advances.

Sexually Hostile Work Environment

Another type of sexual harassment occurs when there is a hostile work environment. In this situation, an employee may be exposed to frequent unwanted sexual behavior from superiors or co-workers. Often times, even if not directly involved, supervisors or management are aware of the environment, but do nothing to resolve the situation. Some examples include:

  • Sexually explicit pictures or pornography posted in the workplace.
  • Frequent dirty jokes or sexual stories told within earshot of the employee.
  • Frequent sexually suggestive remarks or propositions made to or in earshot of the employee.
  • Use of derogatory terms to describe others, sexual or non-sexual.
  • Frequent physical contact, sexual and non-sexual contact.

Offensive Gender-Based Harassment

Remember sexual harassment often is sexual in nature, but can include offensive comments about the person’s gender. For example, in a male dominated field, co-workers and management frequently make derogatory remarks about women in general and how women should not work in that field.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or a hostile work environment, you have rights under state and federal law. Please contact our Nashville lawyers for a free evaluation of your claim.