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Sexual Harassment

Employees in Baltimore City, the surrounding Baltimore metropolitan area, as well as the other parts of the State of Maryland, from Prince George’s County, to Annapolis, Frederick, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the mountains, and Southern Maryland, receive protection from sex harassment in the workplace.  Federal laws, state laws, and local laws prohibit sexual harassment and other misconduct in the workplace.  Confronting the numerous, complicated rules that control sex harassment can be overwhelming, especially when suffering sex harassment at the same time.

Employment discrimination lawyers at Mallon LLC have spent decades assisting workers to understand their right to work in a safe workplace and receive equal treatment.  When an employer violates one of the many laws that prohibit sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, our lawyers know what to do to protect the interests of the victimized employee.  From filing a claim, to representing you in a court lawsuit, our firm’s attorneys can help you pursue the recovery of money damages and any other remedies that may be available to compensate you for your employer’s wrongful conduct.

“Quid pro quo.”  This type of sexual harassment occurs when a manager / supervisor engages in direct sexual harassment against a supervised employee – including conditioning job benefits on the happening of a sexual favor by a subordinate employee. The manager / supervisor may promise something in exchange for the employee’s action, or may threaten negative consequences for refusing to do something.  For example, when a manager threatens to fire the receptionist if she refuses his advances (and then does so), this is classic unlawful quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Hostile work environment.  This type of harassment occurs when one, some, or many co-workers make unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures that make you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or intimidated.  Usually, the conduct must be continuous enough, and disturbing enough, that a court will say it significantly interferes with the victim’s work environment, work performance, and/or well-being.  For instance, if a co-worker makes daily reference to his (or her) sexual feelings toward you (with unwanted sexual comments occasionally stated), you may regularly feel disturbed, anxious, and/or threatened.  The abusive co-worker may have created a hostile work environment for you.  Customers and vendors may also sexually harass an employee and form the basis of a complaint, if the employer has knowledge, but does nothing.

It may be difficult to tell if what you are going through at work is unlawful sex harassment.  Each case is different, and should be examined carefully based on its own facts.  However, there are some situations that are red flags, and should cause you to think carefully about your work environment, and possible legal rights that you may have.  Sexual harassment may include things such as:

  • Losing a promised promotion after you refuse to accept your boss’s frequent invitations “to celebrate” with the boss.
  • Being removed from a project because you reported to Human Resources that the project team spends a lot of time telling sexual jokes that made you uncomfortable.
  • Being sexually assaulted by a colleague, supervisor, client, customer, or vendor.
  • Receiving a “write up” or negative review after you refuse to respond to your supervisor’s sexual advances.
  • Being told you will not get your vacation time if you don’t have sex with your team leader.
  • Being promised a raise by the president of the company in exchange for taking on some “private personal projects.”
  • Finding a graphic sexual photo on your desk every day, left by a co-worker.
  • Receiving unsolicited and unwanted sexually explicit emails from your colleague or boss.
  • Being hugged by your office mates, kissed by your co-workers, or being the unwelcome recipient of “friendly” back massages
  • Being repeatedly asked to disclose information about your personal sex life, despite you indicating that you’re not comfortable with this.
  • Hearing others discussing your body and/or your physical appearance in a sexual way.
  • Being “hit on” by an important customer who threatens your boss that he/she will take away the customer’s business if you don’t comply (maybe your boss asks you to be, “a team player”).

Sexual harassment can occur in countless ways.  If any of the above sex harassment scenarios seem familiar to you, or if you believe you have been the victim of sex harassment in the workplace, contact your Baltimore, MD, Prince George's County, MD, Maryland and Washington D.C. employment law attorneys, at Mallon LLC, for a no-cost initial evaluation of your legal rights and/or potential claims.