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What are the two types of sexual harassment?

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Workplace sexual harassment is more common than many people realize. But it is never okay.

Last year’s #MeToo movement shined light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace, particularly in the entertainment industry.

But sexual harassment can affect any worker in any industry.

It is important to note that many types of conduct could be considered sexual harassment: making inappropriate comments to a co-worker, repeatedly asking a co-worker for a date, inappropriate touching, etc.

But from a legal perspective, sexual harassment generally falls into two main types:

  • Hostile work environment sexual harassment: A hostile work environment is created when the words or actions of an employee are so offensive that the victim’s job performance is affected due to a toxic work environment. The victim can be the target of sexual comments or jokes or affected by such behavior or conduct toward another.
  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment: This type of sexual harassment involves a superior asking a subordinate employee for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or other advancement at work. If the victim refuses, the superior may take adverse action against that employee.

Depending on the circumstances, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two types of sexual harassment. Both types are illegal.

If you have experienced sexual harassment at work and your employer is taking no action to stop it – or if your employer is the one initiating the conduct – it is advisable to speak to an employment law attorney.

If you don’t know which type of sexual harassment you are suffering (as described above), don’t worry. We can discuss what has happened to you in a confidential consultation. Call our office at 212-460-0047 to schedule a time to meet.

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