Having a sexual harassment in the workplace policy in place is not only important for the safety of your employees, but it is also important for your business. If you don’t have a sexual harassment in the workplace policy in effect, you may be liable for any damages that result from a sexual harassment claim. And if you do have a sexual harassment in the workplace policy, you need to make sure that you follow it to the letter.
Quid pro quo
Using the term “quid pro quo” may seem like a joke, but it’s actually a type of sexual harassment that’s worth investigating. Specifically, quid pro quo is an offer or promise of something for something else. For instance, an employer might threaten to fire an employee if she rejects a sexual request. Similarly, an employer might ask a new employee to sleep with her for a raise.
A company’s sexual harassment policy is a good place to start, but if a supervisor makes a request that doesn’t appear to be discriminatory, it could be considered quid pro quo. Moreover, a claim for a quid pro quo may not even be the best option if the harasser has an immediate authority over the target.
Interferes substantially with work performance
Whether it is a one-time incident or a persistent problem, sexual harassment is a serious matter that can have a significant impact on an individual’s employment. As such, employers must be on the lookout for potential issues in their work environment that could indicate a problem.
Sexual harassment is an unlawful form of discrimination. It includes unwanted sexual advances, derogatory remarks, and unwelcome sexual physical conduct. These actions interfere with an employee’s job performance and may also result in decreased job motivation, decreased productivity, and absenteeism.
Harassment is a violation of federal and state law. It includes conduct that interferes substantially with an employee’s job performance, including conduct that is objectively offensive, subjectively offensive, or both.
Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment
Whether you are a victim of sexual harassment or an employer, it is important to understand the types of conduct that can qualify as harassment. This includes verbal and physical contact, and even non-verbal gestures, such as veiled threats of violence.
When deciding whether or not a specific type of conduct qualifies as harassment, the courts must look at the totality of the circumstances. This means that the conduct must be severe enough to create a hostile working environment. It also means that it must be subjectively offensive.
A person’s behavior can constitute sexual harassment if it is unwelcome and is directed toward a woman. Such behaviors include unwelcome sexual advances, physical contact, and sexual demands. They can also include offensive language and comments.
Costs to your business
Having a workplace culture that is free from harassment can have a huge impact on the overall performance of your business. This includes your employees, their coworkers, and even your customers. Sexual harassment is a problem that is not limited to the workplace.
The EEOC has compiled data on sexual harassment and found that companies can lose millions of dollars every year due to it. These losses range from legal costs to the actual cost of the complaint itself. The largest sexual harassment award went to $168 million in 2012.
The true cost of harassment is difficult to quantify but there are some ways to approximate it. A study in the 1980s found that the average Fortune 500 company lost $6.7 million per year due to sexual harassment. The biggest component of this loss is turnover. Typically, when an employee is a victim of sexual harassment, they quit. The result is a drop in productivity.
Prevention-based harassment training
Whether you work for a nonprofit organization, private company, or government agency, you have a legal responsibility to protect employees from harassment. That means that you must train your staff on the legal consequences of sexual harassment and other unlawful conduct. However, it’s also important to establish a culture of respect and equality in the workplace.
There are a number of preventative strategies you can implement to prevent sexual harassment at work. These include setting up a policy that applies to both employees and supervisors and providing training for all employees. You should also encourage employees to use the complaint procedure.
Retaliation against a victim
Whether the sexual harassment in the workplace is your own or that of a coworker, it is illegal to retaliate against the victim. Retaliation against a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can result in negative job actions such as demotion, termination, transfer to a different building, and/or salary reduction.
If you have been the victim of retaliation at work, you have the right to seek financial damages from your employer. You can recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and more. These damages depend on the laws of the state you live in, and your particular case.