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Sexual favoritism in the workplace

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2022 | Employment Law (Employee)

Responsible employers know about sexual harassment, generally, and they likely have policies in place to avoid it. However, some employers may not know about the other side of the sexual harassment coin, sexual favoritism.

A type of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment, generally, is either quid pro quo or hostile environment, including sexual favoritism. Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to transactional sexual harassment, where the harasser is asking for a sexual favor in exchange for some employment benefit (or just keeping the job).

Conversely, hostile environment harassment refers to pervasive sexual harassment. This is where someone’s unwelcome sexual behavior or conduct is so pervasive it makes the work environment hostile, offensive or intimidating.

Sexual favoritism

Sexual favoritism is sexual harassment, and it can be both environmental and quid pro quo. Sexual favoritism occurs on the backend of sexual harassment as it refers to the employment benefits that are not received by other employees because it went to the person that accepted the sexual harassment.

For example, in quid pro quo sexual favoritism, if a female employee accepted an offer for advancement through sexual favors, and the women who did not accept those terms missed out on that offer for advancement. As such, for all qualified women in that scenario, they have experienced illegal sexual favoritism.

Sexual favoritism can also be hostile environment harassment. This can occur in several ways. One of the more obvious ways is through sexual favors becoming a workplace policy. This occurs when the requests for sexual favors are so widespread that they become a requirement for an employee benefit or continued employment. In these cases, everyone who did not receive the employee benefit, but was qualified for it, could have a case for sexual favoritism as well.

The key takeaway

The key here is that not all illegal sexual harassment falls into a neat box. This is why it is so important for Hershey, Pennsylvania, employers to conduct periodic reviews of both your supervisors and employees to make sure nothing sexual occurs in the office. Otherwise, your business could face expensive litigation that could destroy your public image in the central Pennsylvania area.