John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
612-217-4988 877-390-4527

How do you address sexual harassment in the work environment?

Being comfortable in the work environment is important to employees in Minnesota. Working in a safe, healthy and fair work environment is not only conducive to productivity but also protects the rights of the employees. When a supervisor or co-worker oversteps these lines, an employee could suffer greatly. In severe situations the harassment is so pervasive a hostile work environment is created. Sexual harassment creates a very uncomfortable situation and this violation of civil rights could lead to serious damages for the employee experiencing it.

Sexual harassment can range from inappropriate jokes or comments to an unwanted sexual advance. If a supervisor or manager makes promotion, work assignments or continued employment conditional on an employee providing sexual favors, it is called quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under state and federal law, and these laws provide remedies for victims. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the basis for sexual harassment claims. State laws also provide remedies for victims of sexual harassment.

Employers have a legal duty to maintain a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. If an employer learns of a sexual harassment complaint but does nothing to investigate it or stop the behavior, the employer can be held liable along with the harasser for damages in a civil lawsuit.

No worker should have to tolerate sexual harassment. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, meeting with an experienced employment law attorney may help you identify your options.

Source:, "Sexual Harassment at Work," accessed on Sept. 8, 2014

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