Sexual Harassment

Federal and Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Sexual Harassment in any capacity remains problematic for many workers.  If you experience sexual harassment, whether it be by a co-worker or supervisor, you need to call an employment attorney immediately to help devise a plan to help protect and assert your rights. Additionally, you can review the Top 10 steps to take if you are a victim of sexual harassment post on this website. Below, please also find an overview of the types of sexual harassment claims under federal and Ohio law.

Under Title VII (and Ohio law), there are two types of sexual harassment:  quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment.  A brief overview of each is below.  Ohio’s law against sexual harassment mirror those of Title VII.  See Ohio Revised Code Section 4112.01 and Ohio Administrative Code 4112-5-05(J)(1). Additionally, Title VII and Ohio law prohibit retaliation in any aspect of your employment for opposing sexual harassment.

To prevail on the first type of sexual harassment claim, quid pro quo sexual harassment, you must assert and prove the following:

  • (1) the employee was a member of a protected class
  • (2) the employee was subjected to unwelcomed sexual harassment in the form of sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
  • (3) the harassment complained of was based on sex;
  • (4) the employee’s submission to the unwelcome advances was an express or implied condition of receiving a tangible job benefit or the refusal of which would result in a tangible job detriment; and
  • (5) the existence of respondent superior (either automatically if conduct was by supervisor or proof that employer knew of sexual harassment through its agents or supervisory personnel, but failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.)

To prevail on a claim for hostile work environment sexual harassment, you must assert and prove that:

  • (1) the employee was a member of a protected class
  • (2) the employee was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment in the form of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
    • Examples:
      • staring in a sexually suggestive manner (“leering”)
      • making offensive remarks about looks, clothing, or body parts
      • touching in any way that may make an employee feel uncomfortable, such as patting, pinching, or intentional brushing up against another’s body
      • sexual or lustful jokes, including gestures
      • sending, forwarding, or soliciting sexually suggestive letters, notes, emails or images.
  • (3) the harassment complained of was based upon sex
  • (4) the charged sexual harassment had the effect of unreasonably interfering with the plaintiff’s work performance and creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment, and
  • (5) the existence of respondeat superior (employer responsible for employee’s actions through supervisor or proof that employer knew about harassment, but failed to take immediate and appropriate correction action.)

Under hostile work environment sexual harassment, a claim depends on the individual facts.  It is important to note that harassing conduct need not by motivated by sexual desire.  Courts examine three factors to determine if the the sexual harassment created a hostile work environment:

  • (i) First, was the conduct severe or pervasive enough to alter the terms and conditions of employment?  This analysis is under the totality of the circumstances.
    • considerations may include the frequency and severity of the discriminatory conduct, whether it was physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere utterance.
  • (ii) Second, the conduct must be subjectively offensive to the victim.
  • (iii) Third, courts assess whether the conduct, objectively, would be offensive to a reasonable person.

If you believe to be the victim of sexual harassment, you need to have an attorney protect your rights immediately.  We can advise and help you stop the harassment at work.  If the conduct does not stop, we will devise a plan to help you depart from work while preserving your claims.  In the event you have already been terminated or retailed against for reporting the sexual harassment, contact us directly about your legal issue, either at the Columbus or Toledo office of Bryant Legal, LLC.

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