While people could sexually harass you at work in many ways, the law considers two forms.
If you wish to bring a legal claim about the harassment, you need to do so based on one of these two grounds: quid pro quo or a hostile work environment. Let’s see how they differ:
Quid pro quo
This involves someone, usually a manager or boss propositioning you. If you want them to do something for you, then you first must do something for them. This could be going out on a date, kissing them, or having any kind of sexual encounter.
Typically people in power offer promotions, pay rises, funding for your project, or the go-ahead for your project in exchange.
Alternatively, they may want you to do something sexual for them to avoid something bad happening to you. For example, to avoid losing your job, getting your hours cut, seeing your project shelved or your department budget cut.
Hostile work environment
A one-off event will not be enough here, unlike in the case of a quid pro quo. To show you have experienced a hostile work environment, you need to show a series of events over time.
- Unwanted touching
- Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature
- Inappropriate messages, emails or pictures
The end result is that you dread going to work, or doing so is uncomfortable for you. Proving workplace sexual harassment is not always easy, yet that does not mean you shouldn’t try. With the correct legal help, you can build a case to end it once and for all.