What Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment?

Hostile work environment sexual harassment is any conduct aimed towards an employee because of that employee’s sex that unreasonably interferes with that employee’s work performance or produces an intimidating, hostile, or unpleasant working environment. Sexual harassment can take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances or physical contact.
  • Jokes about gender.
  • Jokes that are lewd or sexual in nature.
  • Gestures that aren’t proper.
  • Sharing or showing sexually explicit materials.
  • Offensive comments on appearances, bodily parts, and clothing

Preventing Harassment & Discrimination for Employees - California - Evolve e-Learning Solutions

Factors used to determine the hostile work environment

There are various elements to examine when determining whether or not a hostile work environment exists, including:

  • The frequency of reported inappropriate activity;
  • The gravity of the alleged misbehavior;
  • The victim’s behavior;
  • The claimed harassment’s context;
  • The size of the employer’s company;
  • The nature of the employer’s company; and,
  • If a reasonable person in the victim’s position would have believed the workplace was hostile,


Sexual harassment in the workplace can be distressing, and it might impede the victim from doing their duties. Sexual harassment victims should understand how to recognize sexual harassment and what they can do about it, including legal remedies and services.


How Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Different Than Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

When an employee is pressed to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for a promotion, job retention, or any other form of employee advantage, this is known as quid pro quo harassment. To put it another way, an employee’s job security may be contingent on performing sexual favors for his or her boss.

Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employee’s work environment is abusive or hostile as a result of his or her employer’s or coworker’s behavior or actions. Unlike quid pro quo sexual harassment, this type of harassment can be perpetrated by any employee. Furthermore, behavior may have an impact on multiple employees.

Harassment and Discrimination Training | Online Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Courses - Evolve e-Learning Solutions

Do I Have a Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claim?

You may be a victim of hostile environment sexual harassment if your employer or coworker’s behavior has:

  • Your emotional tranquillity at work has been disrupted.
  • hampered your ability to carry out your professional tasks.
  • hampered and weakened your personal sense of well-being.

To be successful with your claim, you must demonstrate the following:

  • Your boss or coworker displayed unwelcome and unacceptable behavior.
  • This behavior significantly hampered your work performance or produced an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working atmosphere.

You should discuss your concerns with an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney. Based on the facts of your case, an attorney can advise you on whether you have a credible sexual harassment claim.