Sexual harassment is considered to be a form of sexual discrimination (See Title VII employment discrimination). Sexual harassment claims have been traditionally divided into two kinds of harassment.
(1) Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when a supervisor or someone in the position of authority seeks a sexual relationship in exchange for favors such as promotions and raises, or punishes or threatens to punish the employee if they fail to respond to advances.
(2) Hostile work environment harassment exists, for purposes of Title VII employment discrimination claims, when an employee experiences discriminatory workplace conduct or harassment so pervasive and so severe that the employee is fearful of going to her or his workplace for fear of being offended, intimidated, or being exposed to such an abusive working environment.
Not all abusive behavior can be successfully litigated. Whether a working environment is sufficiently hostile must be determined by an objective standard, as well as a subjective standard. Because not every unpleasant workplace is considered a hostile environment, an attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible for damages.
If you are an employer, you can benefit from the advice of an experienced legal counsel on how to set up and maintain policies and procedures that would protect you from employee lawsuits.