Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment that rises to the level of unlawful behavior is a pernicious form of gender discrimination in the workplace.  This is true because the standard for unlawful sexual harassment requires both that the behavior is "unwelcome" and also that it must be sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of the victim's workplace and create an abusive working environment.  This standard, first articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, continues to govern the sexual harassment paradigm.  The type and frequency of behavior that is unlawful are inversely related:  a single extreme instance of harassment such as a sexual assault is unlawful, whereas more minor incidents may also become unlawful if they occur repetitively or frequently over a longer period of time.  Sexual harassment laws protect all genders and there are two types of unlawful sexual harassment:  (1) hostile environment and (2) quid pro quo.  We discuss both in articles in this section of our website.  Generally, hostile environment refers to a workplace that is rendered abusive based on unwelcome sexual behavior (use your imagination here), from propositions to innuendo, jokes, pornography and the like and in extreme cases, of course, physical touching of a sexual nature; quid pro quo harassment occurs when the terms and conditions of employment are conditioned on compliance with sexual or romantic overtures, including for example offers to date, have sex, or to tolerate the perpetrator's other sexual behavior in the workplace.  Advising perpetrators that sexual harassment is unwelcome and reporting the harassment to one's employer are important factors in any case.

Articles:

Reporting Sexual Harassment (in the MeToo Era or Any Era)

Some things are slow to change: A brief discussion of when and how best to report workplace sexual harassment.

Oregon Sexual Harassment Laws

A brief history and summary of federal law and Oregon state law pertaining to sexual harassment.

The Employer's Duty To Protect Oregon Employees From Harassment By Third Parties

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from harassment, even if it is perpetrated by individuals who are not employed by the employer.

Retaining A Sexual Harassment Lawyer

This article discusses some of the basic considerations employees should consider when retaining a sexual harassment lawyer, as well as addressing some of the fundamentals of sexual harassment law.

Filing a Sexual Harassment Case

We discuss strategic considerations in the preparation, filing, and prosecution of a successful sexual harassment case.