Sexual harassment involves unlawful discrimination based upon gender. Such claims may be based either on a “hostile work environment,” or upon the forcible exchange of sexual favors on a “quid pro quo” basis. Filing proper claims on these issues and the conduct of any subsequent investigation are critical issues. Under either theory of sexual harassment, either “hostile environment,” or “quid pro quo,” the Law Firm of Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A. can provide effective legal and practical strategies for dealing with these gender based employment discrimination issues.
Sexual harassment laws help define the nature of the relationship between employer and employee. A Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment attorney may define sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome conduct or acts of a sexual nature that occur in the workplace. However, what exactly constitutes sexual harassment depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Overt Sexual Advances
If an employer offers a work-related benefit in return for any act that is sexual in nature, or alternatively threatens a work penalty for such a refusal, that is considered sexual harassment. Known as quid pro quo, this form of harassment is more obvious and easier to prove than other forms.
This form of sexual harassment is more complex. It may be created by either physical conduct or verbal conduct. The standard the lawyer must prove is that the conduct is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would consider it abusive. Typically, therefore, a single incident, unless especially egregious, will likely not be deemed harassment. Nor, cautions a Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment attorney, may offhand remarks or jokes in poor taste rise to that level.
Examples of What May Constitute Sexual Harassment
A Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment lawyer will emphasize the need to examine each situation individually, but some typical scenarios include:
- Staring or gawking at an individual in a suggestive manner;
- Specific comments about an individual’s clothes or body parts;
- Physical contact, such as brushing up against someone; and
- Displaying sexual images, telling vulgar jokes or sending emails with sexual content.
An employer is not the only person who can be the harasser. Others a Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment attorney has found culpable include co-workers, a manager or agent of the employer or someone who does not even work for the company.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Sexual Harassment Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you need to understand your rights. Call Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A., a Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment attorney, at (954) 527-0570.