There are two types of legally recognized way of committing sexual harassment: (1) Quid pro quo sexual harassment; and (2) Hostile environment harassment.
I. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is offered to be retained in his/her job or be promoted in exchange for sexual favors. In case of a student, the offer is to help receive a good grade or a favorable recommendation in exchange for sexual favors. The person who commits quid pro quo sexual harassment is a person with power to influence the victim's employment or educational situation like a supervisor, manager or a teacher in case of a student. An example would be if a manager suggests that an employee goes out with him on a date or asks for a neck or back rub every so often in exchange for retaining her post or be promoted.
In this type of sexual harassment, it is not important if the victim gave in or agrees to the offer. It is enough that the harasser floats or makes the offer and the victim is not barred from filing a claim if he or she later on changes his or her mind.
II. Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment, on the other hand, occurs when a co-worker, manager or supervisor in the work place makes unwelcome sexual advances which interferes with work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or learning environment in the case of students. The sexual harassing conduct could be verbal, non-verbal, visual or physical. Example of a verbal harassing conduct is when one makes a sexual comment about a person's clothing, anatomy or looks. In cases of non-verbal sexually harassing conduct an example would be leering, staring or glaring at someone. Visual sexually harassing conduct on the other hand could be displaying sexually suggestive calendars, photographs, posters or cartoons in the workplace. Physically harassing conduct is when someone gives a massage around the neck or shoulders and the victim did not ask for it and regards it as offensive.
In this type of sexual harassment, even the employer is liable if he has knowledge or should have knowledge of the sexual harassment perpetrated on one of the employees and the employer either does nothing about it or even faulted the victim for the happening of the sexually harassing conduct.
In both cases, it would be to the best interest of the victim to secure the services of a lawyer immediately to protect the victim's legal rights.
John Luke Matthews is a regular contributor of relevant articles about the jurisprudence of businesses. He is part of the Mesriani Law Group and is currently taking information technology studies as well.