While the law prohibits harassment towards protected classes of individuals, sexual harassment is by far the most common claim made out of those categories. Harassment based on sex or gender includes not only harassment directed towards physical differences between the sexes, but also amongst the same sexes and even stereotypes and attitudes about the sexes. While the term “sex” denotes the biological differences between males and females, gender refers to the cultural implications attached to each sex.
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Hostile work environment occurs when the sexual harassment creates an abusive work situation which is severe or pervasive. Factors such as the nature of the unwelcome sexual acts or works, the frequency of the offensive encounters, the total number of days over which all of the offensive conduct occurs and the context in which the sexually harassing conduct occurred is considered by the court. Harassing conduct must be found severe and pervasive enough to create an objectively hostile or abusive work environment, an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive which requires both, and also that the victim subjectively perceives the environment to be abusive. It is unlawful for an employer to fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.