The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”
Sexual harassment falls into two general categories: 1) quid-pro-quo: this is where the giving or removal of employment benefits is implicitly or explicitly offered in exchange for sexual favours or conduct. 2) hostile environments: this is where the sexual conduct is so pervasive and severe so as to causes a person’s work environment to be intimidating, hostile, or offensive; or to affect their ability to do their job properly.
For a comprehensive answer to this question, please see our “What is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” pages.