Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Do Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment

S

exual harassment in the workplace is prohibited under both state and federal law. In general there are two types of sexual harassment claims that an employee can bring:

  1. Quid pro quo harassment; or
  2. Hostile work environment.

To establish a claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment, an employee must show

  1. That the alleged harasser made unwelcome sexual advances, sexual requests, or engaged in conduct of a sexual nature;
  2. That the employee rejected or submitted to such advances, requests, or conduct; and
  3. That the submission to or rejection of such sexual advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions.

In other words, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer requires an employee to engage in unwelcome sexual behavior in exchange for some aspect of the terms of the employee’s employment.

To establish a claim for hostile work environment based upon sexual harassment, the plaintiff must show

  1. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
  2. That is unwelcome;
  3. That has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile or humiliating or offensive work environment; and
  4. That interferes with the plaintiff’s ability to perform his or her job.

Unlike quid pro quo sexual harassment, hostile work environment claims are based on the pervasive, unwelcome sexual advances. A hostile work environment claim does not require a change in the terms and conditions of an employee’s employment; rather only the ongoing existence of unwelcome sexual advances.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT OR BELIEVE YOU WERE A VICTIM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE?

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Jul2017
On June 26, 2017, in a case of first impression argued by Attorney Adam J. Shafran, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous 7-0 decision holding that employees who are owed unpaid wages are entitled to recover prejudgment interest at the rate of 1% a month on their unpaid ... Read More

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