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What are the different types of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is prohibited in the workplace but it is helpful for workers to be aware there are different types of sexual harassment which can help them better understand the legal protections and resources available to them if they are suffering sexual harassment in their workplace. Workers suffering sexual harassment in the workplace may wonder what the different types of sexual harassment are.

There are generally two types of sexual harassment including quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to when someone in authority, typically a supervisor in the workplace, demands that the employee tolerate sexual harassment in return for keeping their job or receiving promotions or raises. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when the employee is subjected to offensive, unwelcome and persistent sexual conduct that creates a hostile work environment.

Factors that may be considered when determining if the behavior or activity rises to the level of a hostile work environment include the type of conduct and if it was verbal, physical or both; the frequency of the conduct; if the conduct was hostile or patently offensive; the position of the person accused of harassment and if it was someone in a supervisory role to the victim; who was involved in the harassment; and who the harassment was directed at and if it was one victim who was singled out or more than one victim.

Employment law protections are available for victims of sexual harassment in their workplaces. Workers should know that they do not have to tolerate sexual harassment and have the right to a safe workplace free from sexual harassment. Different types of legal resources may be available to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and workers should also be familiar with what those are and how they can help them.

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