Are there exact words that constitute sexual harassment?

There Are Two Types of Words Which Constitutes Sexual Harassment

It’s a common question in those who have been made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace. Their coworker may not have necessarily committed any kind of blatant sexual assault or anything of that sort, but they know something to be wrong with their behavior. The answer to the question of, “Are there certain words used that can constitute sexual harassment?” is a resounding “Yes.”

Proposing Sexual Favors in Exchange for Professional Gain

The first type is called “Quid Pro Quo”, which in Latin means “this for that”. If an employer requests sexual favor in return for money, promotion or to avoid termination, this is liability for the employer. One request or demand is sufficient to bring liability to the employer.

Words That Establish a Hostile Work Environment

The second type is referred to as “hostile environment”. This refers to words that are severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment, in effect, changing the conditions of employment. The Supreme Court of United States has suggested that no single act except maybe rape would meet that qualification. However, a number of single acts such as dirty jokes, talking about one’s sex life, continually commenting on a person’s sexual appearance, unauthorized touching, and similar sexual references or acts will constitute a hostile work environment.

The standard today is significantly easy to meet over the passage of time. Only a qualified attorney with a full understanding of your particular case can make a credible judgement as to whether you have grounds for a sexual harassment suit.

Contact our firm today to speak with a Harvard Law-educated, California employment law attorney, Alan Burton Newman.