Sexual Harassment at Work

sexual harassment in the workplace

The average worker spends over 90,000 hours of their life at work. The workplace should be free of any sexual harassment. If you have been the subject of sexual harassment or assault at the workplace by a co-worker, boss, or other individuals, instruct the harasser to stop the unwelcome behavior immediately and report the incident to any supervisor within your agency, your HR Department, or any specific office designated by your agency to receive complaints of sexual harassment. If you are being harassed by your supervisor, you should report the harassment to the supervisor’s superior and continue to go up the “chain of command.” All complaints should be in writing and a copy should be retained by the employee. Any complaints of sexual harassment must be reported to the Florida Commission on Human Relations within 365 calendar days and to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 calendar days of the alleged incident.

WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

Sexual Harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by Federal and Florida law. Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person directed towards or in the presence of an employee or applicant when either submission to such conduct is a term or condition of employment; submission or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment decision; or such conduct has the purpose of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

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There are two types of sexual harassment. The first, quid pro quo sexual harassment, occurs when the harasser is in a position of authority and uses that authority to seek sexual favors in exchange for job conditions or benefits, such as hiring, promotion, favorable performance evaluations, no discipline, pay raises, or other privileges. These requests may be stated or implied. Other examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include disciplining or firing a subordinate because he/she ends a romantic relationship or changing performance expectations because a subordinate refuses repeated requests for a date.

The second type of sexual harassment, hostile environment sexual harassment, occurs when the harasser’s misconduct unreasonably interferes with the worker’s job performance or creates an intimidating or offensive work environment. This conduct must be severe or widespread to the point that it affects a term, condition, or privilege of employment. For hostile environment sexual harassment, the harasser may or may not be in a position of authority. A co-worker or non-employee of the agency, as well as a supervisor, may be the harasser in hostile environment sexual harassment.

Serrano | McGuire represents victims of sexual harassment and assault. We are licensed to practice in all State and Federal Court Districts in Florida. Our attorneys and staff are fluent in Spanish and we personally handle your case from start to finish. If you have recently experienced sexual harassment at work, please call today for a free consultation at 813.929.4231 or contact us online.

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