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Types of sexual harassment

Idaho employers are required to provide workplaces that are free from sexual harassment. Federal law acknowledges that anyone can be a perpetrator or a victim of such harassment regardless of gender or role within an organization. There are two main types of workplace sexual harassment that you may experience while on the job.

Hostile working environment

A hostile working environment occurs when you are subject to conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to make it difficult to do your job. For example, if your boss made comments about your appearance on a daily basis, that could be considered pervasive behavior. If your boss threatened to lock you in a room and have sex with you, that could be considered severe enough to create a hostile workplace even if the threat was made a single time.

Quid pro quo

In employment law terms, a quid pro quo occurs when your status within a company is based on your willingness to comply with requests for sexual favors. For instance, you may be given a raise if you agree to go on a date with your manager but would be fired if you refuse to do so. You might also be demoted, lose benefits or face other negative consequences for your refusal to play along.

If you experience inappropriate treatment at work, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also have grounds to file a lawsuit with or without the EEOC’s blessing. If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to back pay, the value of benefits lost or other forms of compensation. It’s also possible that you’ll be reinstated to your former position if you were wrongfully terminated because you took action against your employer.