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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jun 18, 2015

In recent years, more and more cases of sexual harassment have been in the spotlight involving celebrities. Most cases, however, involved everyday people in their work environment. Here’s a look at the two main categories of sexual harassment that take place in the workplace and how to protect yourself.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

This is the type that most people tend to think about when the subject arises. It has been portrayed on TV and in the movies for a long time. Quid Pro Quo Harassment occurs when a superior threatens an employee with negative consequences if the employee does not provide sexual favors. It also occurs when the employee is promised a promotion or other perks in exchange for sexual favors. There are a lot of variations on this theme, and the consequences or even the favor may not be specifically stated. What makes this harassment is basically that the employee is required to endure the inappropriate behavior in order to keep his or her job or avoid other negative consequences at work. This could include:

  • Withholding benefits from the employee if they refuse to participate in the requests
  • Penalizing the employee for refusing to participate
  • Making work project opportunities conditional upon the sexual request
  • Threatening to terminate the employee if they do not participate

Hostile Work Environment

This type of harassment is not as easily recognizable, and it includes a much broader range of inappropriate behavior. Typically, this involves co-workers at the same level of authority. To qualify as a hostile work environment in the eyes of the law, the harassment must be severe, pervasive, and reasonably offensive. Examples of this include:

  • A co-worker making frequent sexual remarks
  • A co-worker repeatedly touching an employee in an unwelcome manner
  • An employee regularly receiving sexually explicit e-mails from a co-worker
  • A co-worker making catcalls every time an employee walks by
  • A co-worker constantly inquiring about an employee’s sex life or sexual history
  • A co-worker pestering an employee for a date or sexual encounter

There are several reports of workplace sexual harassment every year here in Arizona, and many more cases that are never reported. If you’ve been a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you may fear that coming forward may put your job in jeopardy or that your case will be difficult to prove. Arizona law is very specific when it comes to protecting victims of sexual harassment, and if you come forward, every effort will be made to protect your rights and ensure that justice is served. While it takes courage to come forward, if you are a victim of sexual harassment, speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.