Basic (and sometimes surprising) facts about sexual harassment

Posted in Quid Pro Quo,Sexual Harassment on January 7, 2015

Last month, we gave readers a refresher course on the two basic types of workplace sexual harassment: Quid pro quo and hostile work environment. While such information is common knowledge to HR professionals and attorneys, it may not be well known among the general public.

Unfortunately, many people take the time to learn about sexual harassment because they fear that they may be victims of it. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some facts about sexual harassment that you may not already know. Basic information like this is provided online by numerous sources, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

When thinking about sexual harassment, many people imagine a woman being harassed by a man. While this is a common scenario, it is just one of many. Sexual harassers can be male or female, as can victims. Moreover, the harasser and the victim can be of the same or opposite genders.

Did you know that you can be a victim of sexual harassment even if you are not the person targeted? If the conduct is offensive, repeated and unwelcome, you may be considered a victim of sexual harassment even if you were not directly harassed.

Finally, it’s important to note that your employer can sometimes be held liable even if the harasser is not a company employee. A good example would be restaurant customers who sexually harass a waitress or waiter. If the conduct is reported but management fails to intervene, the company could be held liable if it continues to happen.

If you believe that you have been a victim of sexual harassment, don’t worry about knowing the law inside and out. There are numerous informational resources online, and an experienced sexual harassment attorney can help answer any case-specific questions you may have.