While most people in Delaware likely think about men being the perpetrators when they think about workplace sexual harassment, people of either gender can be the instigators. Some cases involve men harassing men, women harassing women, or women harassing men. No matter what the genders are, workplace sexual harassment is illegal under state and federal law.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a type of sex discrimination. It can happen in two primary ways, including hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. In the former cases, the harassing conduct is pervasive and severe enough that an environment is created that interferes with the ability of the victim to perform the tasks of his or her job.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when the perpetrator offers favors in exchange for the victim engaging in sexual acts. It can also occur when the perpetrator threatens adverse job actions unless the victim agrees to submit to unwelcome sexual advances. In these cases, the perpetrator is normally a supervisor of the victim. Both types of sexual harassment in the workplace can involve same-sex harassment or opposite-sex harassment of men or women.
Filing complaints about workplace sexual harassment might be scary for the victims. Some people are worried that they will lose their jobs if they complain about what is happening to them. However, reporting workplace sexual harassment might allow the victims to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions and to change the culture at their jobs. An experienced discrimination and harassment lawyer may help the victims of workplace harassment to gather evidence and file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.