Nelson Law Group
Employment Law Attorneys
SF Bay Area : 415-689-6590
Toll Free : 866-290-0424

What type of sexual harassment at work is actionable?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a complicated issue. People are often confused about what the difference is between generally boorish behavior and something that is legally actionable.

This is what everyone should know about sexual harassment in the workplace.

1. Actionable claims come in one of two forms

A lot of different acts fall under two distinct types of sexual harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment occurs anytime an employee's reaction to sexual advances is used as a basis for workplace decisions. The classic example is when a boss offers an employee a promotion as a trade for sexual favors.

A hostile work environment results from actions that are so severe and pervasive that they impact the victim's ability to work effectively. A classic example is a woman being subjected to degrading comments about her physical attributes and gender on a daily basis.

2. Victims do not have to suffer economic damages to have a claim

If you were sexually harassed, it isn't necessary to show that you also suffered financially to have a case. While many victims of harassment do suffer economic harm if they refuse to go along with someone's advances, it's an irrelevant issue when it comes to filing a claim. As a victim, your right to equal treatment is being affected.

3. Harassment does not necessarily come from above

Sexual harassment at work can be actionable even if it didn't come from your manager or someone else in authority. A co-worker could be instrumental in creating a work environment that's hostile. For that matter, it's even possible for customers to do so! For example, servers in a bar could be subjected to unwanted advances from customers on a regular basis -- to the point that it becomes a pervasive problem.

Isolated incidents, like a single pass from a co-worker or a single vulgar remark usually won't be enough to create a truly hostile environment -- although there may be exceptions. If you've been victimized, an experienced sexual harassment attorney can help you determine if you have an actionable case.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information


Representing both employers and employees makes me a better lawyer, because I know how the other side thinks.

Read More


I can provide the same level of service as a large law firm, but more efficiently and at a lower cost.

Read More

How Can We Help ?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Keep In Touch

Nelson Law Group
345 West Portal Avenue
Suite 110
San Francisco, California 94127

Toll Free: 866-290-0424
Phone: 415-689-6590
Fax: 415-592-8671
Map & Directions
San Francisco Law Office Map