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Factors Used to Show Your Work Environment Is Hostile

There are two types of illegal sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Idaho law. The first is quid pro quo. Under this type of sexual harassment, a person in authority over the victim—often a supervisor—demands that the victim accept sexual harassment as a condition of her employment, which could include keeping her job, obtaining a promotion, or receiving a raise. A single incident can amount to quid pro quo discrimination.

The second type of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment claim. The victim must show that the actions make the work environment intimidating, hostile, or offensive. But how does someone show the actions are illegal and not just uncomfortable?

Factors Used to Determine If a Work Environment Is Hostile

Supervisor with is hand on an employee's shoulderUnwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct that is sexual in nature can amount to a hostile work environment if the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the victim’s job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Generally, one incident would not be sufficient to establish a hostile work environment claim unless it was very severe. A number of factors are considered in determining whether a hostile work environment existed:

  • Whether the conduct was verbal, physical or both
  • How frequent the conduct was
  • Whether the conduct was hostile or blatantly offensive
  • Whether the person who was the alleged harasser was a co-worker or supervisor
  • Whether any others joined in the actions that constituted harassment
  • Whether the harassment was directed at one individual or more than one person
  • How upper-level management responded to the allegations of sexual harassment

A determination would be based on the totality of the circumstances, not just one of these factors. Men as well as women can be the victim of sexual harassment, and the victim and the perpetrator can be of the same gender. The person engaging in the illegal conduct does not need to be a co-worker or supervisor. Workers or supervisors in different departments or third parties, like a customer, client, or salesperson, could be the perpetrator.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, you could be entitled to compensation from your employer. You need to act quickly to not miss the time periods to file an administrative complaint and file a lawsuit Fill out my online form or call me at 888.716.8021 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.