This blog has discussed quid pro quo sexual harassment, which is prohibited in the workplace, but there is another type of sexual harassment which is also prohibited in the workplace referred to as hostile workplace sexual harassment. It is also important for workers to be familiar with this type of sexual harassment and how they are protected from it.
What is hostile work environment sexual harassment?
Hostile work environment sexual harassment includes inappropriate behavior or conduct that is pervasive enough that is creates an offensive over intimidating work environment. Workers should not have to put up with a workplace that is intimidating or where they do not feel safe. Examples of behaviors that may create this kind of offensive or hostile environment can include demeaning sexual jokes, photographs or threats.
Factors used to determine hostile work environment
There are several factors that may be considered to determine if there is a hostile work environment including:
- The frequency of the inappropriate behavior complained of;
- The severity of the behavior complained of;
- The conduct of the victim;
- The context of the alleged harassment;
- The size of the employer’s business;
- The nature of the employer’s business; and
- If a reasonable person in the position of the victim would have thought the work environment was hostile.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be alarming and may prevent the victim from doing their job. Victims of sexual harassment should know how to spot sexual harassment and what they can do about it which includes legal remedies and resources available to them.