Types of Sexual Harassment

Under Title VII, there are two types of recognized sexual harassment: 1) Quid pro quo and 2) Hostile work environment. Under quid pro quo sexual harassment, a person in authority, usually a supervisor, demands that subordinates tolerate sexual harassment as a condition of getting or keeping a job or job benefit, including promotions, and raises. A singe instance of harassment may be sufficient to sustain a quid pro quo claim, and in contrast, a pattern of harassment is typically required to qualify as a hostile work environment. More specifically, hostile work environment harassment is grounds for legal action when the conduct is unwelcome, based upon on sex, and the conduct is severe and pervasive enough to create an abusive or offensive work environment. The legal elements which courts examine in determining whether a hostile environment claim is valid include the following developments:

  • (i) Whether the conduct was verbal, physical, or both;
  • (ii) The frequency of the conduct;
  • (iii) Whether the conduct was hostile or patently offensive;
  • (iv) Whether the alleged harasser was a co-worker or supervisor;
  • (v) Whether others joined in perpetrating the harassment; and
  • (vi) Whether the harassment was directed at more than one individual or singled out the victim.

In any sexual harassment case, the alleged victim will have to meet a subjective and an objective standard. In other words, a plaintiff must show that:

  • (i) He or she subjectively believed that the conduct was hostile, abusive, or offensive; and
  • (ii) A reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would objectively believe the conduct was hostile abusive or offensive.

Read more on the services of Mark J. Berkowitz Sexual Harassment Attorney

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Mark Berkowitz focuses his practice on employee representation and employment discrimination matters before both state and federal courts; as well as government administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. These litigation matters involve cases related to claims of discrimination based on race, national origin, religion and gender, including, pregnancy and sexual harassment, as well as claims based on age, disability, medical leave; under the Family Medical Leave Act, retaliation and whistle-blower claims. He also handles claims involving issues of unfair competition, breach of the duty of fair representation, unpaid wages and non-compete and trade secret claims; and additionally, he engages clients in the negotiation of employment contracts and severance agreements.

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