Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
It’s not always so easy to decide on whether or not sexual harassment has occurred in the workplace. If you’re not sure whether your situation qualifies as sexual harassment or if you have a strong enough case to file a claim in Wisconsin, the experienced attorneys at McDonald & Kloth, LLC, can help.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. State and federal laws make it unlawful to harass an employee (or applicant for employment) based upon his/her sex. Harassment of an employee includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, comments or innuendos
- Requests for sexual favors
- Other conduct of sexual nature
Harassment may occur to both men and women, and the harasser may be of the opposite or same sex as the person being harassed. The harasser may not even be an employee of the employer, for example, a consultant, a client, a customer or an independent contractor.
Understanding The Different Types Of Harassment
While it sometimes can be difficult to define, there are two basic forms of sexual harassment. The first is Quid Pro Quo. This is where a supervisor or a person in authority commands an employee to tolerate sexual harassment as a condition to receive or maintain employment. While a single instance of harassment is sufficient for a quid pro quo claim, a pattern of harassment can lead to a hostile work environment.
Another form of harassment is when a co-worker creates a hostile work environment. This creates grounds for legal action when the harassment has become so severe or pervasive as to create a hostile work environment or result in an adverse employment action (i.e., an action affecting the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment).
How Should An Employer And Employee Handle Sexual Harassment?
For employers, it is imperative that when a sexual harassment complaint is received, a prompt and comprehensive investigation is conducted and remedial action is taken. Engaging in these steps will ensure that employees are protected from unwarranted sexual advances. Importantly, providing a work environment free of sexual harassment will reduce liability exposure.
For employees, experiencing sexual harassment can be a traumatic experience, especially if the harasser is a supervisor. It is imperative that you place your employer on notice by following the proper complaint procedures. Employment laws protect employees who bring a good faith complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination from retaliation.
Contact Our Firm Today To Discuss Your Case
McDonald & Kloth, LLC, has successfully represented both employers and employees. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or have received a complaint of sexual harassment, contact us immediately. Call our Menomonee Falls office at 262-735-8461. We can help you understand the strength of your case as well as your choices moving forward.