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Sexual Harassment & Employment


By Kerry L. Morgan

Sexual harassment is an issue which every housing cooperative or managing agent should have a basic familiarity. As an employer, the cooperative or managing agent is obliged to refrain from discrimination on the basis of sex in their employment relationships. This article briefly discusses the evolving state of sexual harassment law.

Sexual harassment is an unlawful practice which violates both State and Federal Law. Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical sexual conduct that is a term or condition of employment. There are two types of sexual harassment, “quid pro quo” and “environmental.”

“Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when submission to verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual advances, or requests for sexual favors is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment. The offending conduct must be unwelcome in order for it to be constituted illegal harassment.

For example, a manager which states that an applicant will “be hired for the position” if the applicant will go out with the manager on a date has engaged in sexual harassment. The same result applies if a manager states prior to a performance review that an employee’s performance could be affected unless a date or other sexual favors occurred. In the case of a housing cooperative. “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs between a manager and his or her subordinate employee.

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