Higgins Law Firm, PLLC

An Iowan Protecting the Rights of Iowans

Get Help Today

515-619-9148

An alleged victim of harassment should know its two basic types

Iowa workers who believe they have been a victim of harassment should be aware of the legal requirements for unlawful harassment. There are two basic types and there are certain criteria for when it is considered a legal violation. In today's world, while harassment in its various forms is being treated more seriously, it is imperative that workers who believe they have been victimized by it understand when the criteria to seek compensation has been met.

The first type of unlawful harassment is quid pro quo. In general, this leads to a decision on the person's employment being based on accepting or rejecting unwelcome sexual advances or requests that sexual favors be given as terms of employment. However, there can also be a religious nature aspect of unwelcome conduct in the workplace. Quid pro quo is most frequently committed by someone who can affect the victim's work status. Examples can be a demotion for the person failing to cooperate in the sexual requests; a requirement that the employee take part in religious activities; or a supervisor offering a promotion or preferential treatment in exchange for taking part in the sexual demands or the religion of the supervisor.

A hostile working environment involves unwelcome behavior from anyone the victim interacts with while at work. This can include co-workers, supervisors, customers or contractors. This behavior will make the workplace offensive, hostile or intimidating. Examples can be sexual discussions; joking that is deemed offensive; unnecessary touching; making comments on another's body; crude statements; sabotage of the person's work; unwanted physical conduct; and more.

For these to be considered violations of the law, it must be abusive to the victim and be severe and pervasive to create a hostile working environment. Severity and pervasiveness will be determined based on the circumstances. Such factors as its frequency, severity, if it was threatening or humiliating, if it interfered with work performance, hindered the person psychologically and if the harasser was a superior are all considered. People who have been subjected to what they believe is sexual harassment or any other kind of behavior that constitutes a hostile working environment and lost a job or had issues at the place of employment because of it can seek compensation in a legal filing. A lawyer experienced in these matters can be of assistance.

Source: dol.gov, "Two basic types of unlawful harassment," accessed on Nov. 27, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information