With the #metoo movement, many people still wonder what “sexual harassment” really means.
Both Title VII and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 prohibit sexual harassment. Under these laws, sexual harassment can occur in one of two ways. The first is called quid pro quo harassment. This occurs when an employee must choose between giving into a sexual demand or being fired (or suffering some other adverse employment action). The second is being subjected to a sexually hostile work environment.
To complicate matters, an employee has a short period of time to make a complaint. To preserve rights under Texas state law, an employee must file a charge of discrimination within 180 days of the harassment. To preserve rights under federal law, an employee must file a charge within 300 days of the harassment.
To determine if someone has a sexual harassment claim, our firm looks at the facts to see if evidence exists that fits either the quid pro quo or hostile work environment theory. To prove a quid pro quo harassment case, (1) the employee must have received unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and (2) the employee’s response must have affected his or her employment.
To prove a hostile work environment, the employee must have been subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to affect a term, condition, or privilege of employment. Under certain circumstances, the employee must show that the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take appropriate remedial action after the employee complained.
Each case turns on its own facts. There are no easy answers on what rises to the level of sexual harassment.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed in your employment, contact the attorneys at Johnston Tobey Baruch for an evaluation of your claims by clicking the Tell Us About Your Case button and selecting the Employment Law option.
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