The Two Types of Baltimore Sexual Harassment Claims

September 15, 2017
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Empty meeting with chairs

According to an August 2017 article in The Washington Post, a Maryland judge was reprimanded after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him. The Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge was disciplined in 2016 after a former administrative assistant filed the complaint, according to a letter from the County’s administrative judge. However, the exact discipline imposed was not disclosed to the former employee or to the public.

In the complaint, the former employee accused the judge of subjecting her to a sexually-charged work environment from 2012 to the time her employment ended. For instance, the judge would allegedly call her when she was on vacation and let her know that he missed her. The judge also allegedly showed her graphic photographs and repeatedly commented on her physical appearance. She told him that his words and actions made her uncomfortable, but he allegedly continued.

After sending her complaint to the administrative judge, the former employee was transferred to another position. The spokeswoman for the Maryland Judiciary said that the judge’s reprimand was not public, but was kept a private matter. Therefore, no information about the alleged sexual harassment reprimand would be released.

What is Baltimore Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment can consist of sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and any other unwanted physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, which is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Types of Baltimore Sexual Harassment

Generally, sexual harassment involves some type of unwanted sexual conduct. There are two main types of sexual harassment.  The first type of sexual harassment is “quid pro quo” harassment.  The second type of sexual harassment is commonly referred to as hostile work environment sexual harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when the harasser, whether an employer or supervisor, threatens an adverse action or offers preferential treatment based on the exchange of sexual favors. For instance, the employer may threaten adverse employment actions like termination, demotion, or discipline if the employee does not give in to his or her sexual advances. The employer or supervisor may offer to dole out preferential treatment if the employee gives in to the sexual advances.

One important thing about quid pro quo harassment is that the conduct complained of must be unwelcome. For example, very difficult questions arise when an employee and the alleged harasser were involved in a consensual sexual relationship for a period of time. Likewise, questions about whether the conduct was unwelcomed arise when the complaining employee participates in the sexual banter.  These are all issues that can complicate a claim of sexual harassment, making the retention of legal counsel imperative.  

On the other hand, hostile work environment sexual harassment refers to a work environment that is sexually charged. The employee may be demeaned, disgusted, or embarrassed by the following going on in the office:

    • Continuous sexual comments;
    • Continuous sexual jokes; or
  • Showing sexual pictures

For a sexually hostile work environment to give rise to an actionable claim under Title VII, it must be both objectively and subjectively offensive.  That is, a reasonable person would have to find the atmosphere hostile or abusive and, in fact, the plaintiff would have to subjectively perceive the environment as hostile or abusive.

Contact The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC About Your Baltimore Sexual Harassment Claim

You may love your job, but you can no longer endure the sexual harassment that happens at the office on a daily basis. You have the right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and you could be entitled to receive damages connected to the harassment you have endured. Contact us immediately for help. Contact the attorneys at the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford via our website or via telephone at 410-514-6099

(image courtesy of Benjamin Child)