What Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment?

Employee being harassed next to colleague

California and federal law recognize two types of sexual harassment:  quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Below, our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers explain:

  • The definition of hostile work environment sexual harassment
  • How hostile work environment sexual harassment is different than quid pro quo harassment
  • How to determine whether you have a viable claim

What Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment?

Hostile work environment sexual harassment is any conduct directed at an employee because of that employee’s sex that unreasonably interferes with the employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances or touching
  • Gender jokes
  • Lewd/sexual jokes
  • Inappropriate gestures
  • Sharing or displaying sexually-charged material
  • Offensive remarks about looks, body parts and clothes

How Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Different Than Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

Quid pro quo means “something for something.” This harassment occurs when an employee is pressured to engage in sexual activity in exchange for promotion, job retention or some other type of employee benefit. In other words, an employee’s job security may depend on engaging in sexual favors for his or her employer.

Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employee’s work atmosphere is abusive or hostile due to the behavior or actions of his or her employer or coworker. Unlike quid pro quo sexual harassment, the behavior can come from any employee. Additionally, the behavior can affect more than one employee.

Do I Have a Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claim?

You may be the victim of hostile environment sexual harassment if the behavior of your employer or coworker has:

  • Disrupted your emotional tranquility in the workplace
  • Affected your ability to perform your job duties
  • Interfered with and undermined your personal sense of well-being

In order for your claim to be successful, you must show the following:

  • Your employer or coworker engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate behavior
  • This behavior unreasonably interfered with your work performance or created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment

You should speak with an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney about your situation. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a viable sexual harassment claim based on the unique circumstances of your case.

Are You Suffering From Workplace Sexual Harassment?

If you are suffering from workplace sexual harassment, you should speak to an experienced sexual harassment attorney about your situation. Though we may not be able to stop the behavior, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys can answer your questions and help you understand your legal options. Call us at (310) 499-0140 or fill out our confidential online contact form.

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