Definition of Harassment

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Sexual harassment can take many forms and is a type of sexual discrimination.  Proving sexual harassment can be difficult because the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment varies from case to case.

  • Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment occurs when a direct supervisor requests sexual favors in return for something directly in that supervisor’s ability to give.
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment is a situation where employees in a workplace are subject to unwanted sexual behavior from persons who are not in a supervisory position or instances where the behavior is quid pro quo" made known to a supervisor or manager who does nothing to stop the behavior.
  • Famous cases involving sexual harassment include the Anita Hill testimony during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the “Tailhook Scandal” which is an example of military sexual harassment.
  • Customer Sexual Harassment – employers can also be liable for customer’s sexual harassment against employees. Examples of this type of harassment are when waiter or waitress maybe harassed by a customer while serving them, and an employer does nothing to protect the employee from such behavior.

Proving Sexual Harassment

  The minimum that an employee would have to prove in a sexual harassment case is

  • He or she belongs to a protected class
  • He or she was subjected to behavior that her or she found offensive;
  • He or she complained of the sexual harassment to a supervisor or management
  • That management or the supervisor failed to act on his or her complaint.

The burden of proof then shifts to the employer to prove that there was no sexual harassment by a customer, supervisor, or management

How do you enforce Your Rights?

Initial complaints of sexual harassment would be made to the EEOC officer in your place of business or your local office of the EEOC.  The EEOC handles court cases involving sexual harassment. You would also have the right to file a sex discrimination lawsuit after pursuing remedies through the EEOC.

Do You Need an Sexual Harassment Lawyer?

If you think you have been a victim of customer sexual harassment, military sexual harassment or any other type of sexual harassment consult a lawyer who specializes in employment law.  They can advise you on the strength or weakness of your case, give you information about what you need to prove and what timelines are important.  They can provide you with information on any rights you may have against customer sexual harassment and military sexual harassment under state law.  State law may give you additional protections against customer sexual harassment and military sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Summary

Proving sexual harassment can be problematic, because what constitutes sexual harassment varied depending on the situation. Litigants have been successful in sexual discrimination law suits in cases where customer has sexually harassed the employee.  The Armed forces are more sensitive to claim of military sexual harassment after the tailhook scandal. Good legal counsel is a imperative to be successful in a sex discrimination law suit because of the subjective nature of the evidence.