Most individuals know and understand that any sexual misconduct is not acceptable, whether at home, in schools, workplaces, or anywhere else for that matter. Sadly, awareness just isn’t enough. Some types of sexual misconduct occur inadvertently, while in other cases, a predator or harasser intentionally chooses to harass or assault an innocent individual for their own personal gain or twisted satisfaction.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment do occur in workplaces, leaving victims feeling humiliated and degraded. This is why it’s essential for people of all ages, genders, cultures, sexual orientations, and races to understand how they can occur.
What Exactly is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual misconduct based on an individual’s gender or sexual orientation. Workplace sexual harassment comes in two forms, which are hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment:
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
This involves unwanted and repeated sexual misconduct that distresses the victim so much that the workplace becomes an intimidating and hostile environment that isn’t conducive to working. This does not only involve sexually motivated behaviors, but also discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender.
Common examples include:
- Unwanted flirtations and sexual attention or advances
- Offensive comments or jokes about the victim’s sexuality or gender
- Sending inappropriate and sexually-charged photos, videos, or messages
- Sexual innuendo
- Unwanted and persistent invitation to dates
- Unwanted sexual contact or touching, including hugging, rubbing, or groping
Take note that anyone can file a sexual harassment complaint if they see inappropriate sexual conduct. But the incidents must be unwanted and repetitive to be considered hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
This involves an imbalance of power between the harasser and the harassed, for example, between an employee and a manager or a candidate and a recruiter. It usually involves the exchange of sexual favors for a threat or benefit, such as a promotion, pay increase, better shift, job security, guaranteed work position, or more favorable work assignments.
In addition, quid pro quo harassment can occur in the form of threats. For instance, threatening to fire or give the victim a poor performance review unless they go on a date or do sexual acts with the harasser.
What Exactly is Sexual Assault?
Sexual harassment cases fall under civil law, while sexual assault cases fall under criminal law. Sexual assault includes any type of deliberate physical sexual conduct that an offender performed without the victim’s consent. These acts include non-consensual physical contact like fondling, kissing, groping, and rape, among many others.
If a person cannot or does not explicitly agree to an action, mentally or physically, they have not given their consent. This includes cases in which the victim is drugged, drunk, underage, distressed, intimidated, unconscious, or married or romantically involved with the offender.
Seek Legal Guidance From a Top Ventura Employment Attorney Today
If you have been sexually harassed, assaulted, or in any way mistreated or discriminated against at work, please contact Bamieh & De Smeth for legal advice. Explore your legal options with our Ventura employment attorney by arranging a free consultation online or by phone at 805-643-5555.