Sexual Harassment

Even though it's been illegal for more than 30 years, workers still encounter sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is illegal under federal and state laws that protect workers against discrimination based on sex and gender. In recent years, women have been victims of sexual harassment at approximately five times the rate of men.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct that is a term or condition of employment. Sexual harassment often takes on two different forms. The first kind of sexual harassment is "quid pro quo." The second kind is "hostile work environment."

A "quid pro quo" sexual harassment case occurs when a supervisor who has the authority to fire, hire, promote, demote, reassign or change benefits abuses his authority (1) to coerce sexual favors from a subordinate through threats or (2) to fire an employee who refuses to submit to his demands.

To prove a "hostile work environment" sexual harassment case, a worker must prove several things.

First, the worker must show the jury she was subjected to sexual advances, requests for sexual favor and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Second, the worker must prove that the sexual harassment was unwelcome. Workers can show that conduct was unwelcome by showing they did not "ask for it" or invite the conduct.

Third, the sexual harassment must be severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of the plaintiff's employment and create a hostile work environment.

Fourth, the worker must prove that he or she personally felt the working environment was hostile and that a reasonable person in the worker's shoes would have also felt the working environment was hostile.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment in Kennewick, WA, call employment attorney Adam R. Pechtel at (509) 586-3091 right away.