Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

By : Travis Brenner

As an employee, you have a legal right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace.  Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination, which is prohibited under both state and federal law.  Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  The conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive so that a reasonable person would find the work environment to be hostile.  A sexual harassment claim usually requires a showing of ongoing and repeated behavior, not an isolated event.

Some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Unwanted touching or contact, including brushing up against a person
  • Offensive/sexual images posted in the workplace
  • Making sexually suggestive comments
  • Unwanted sexual looks or gestures
  • Conditioning employment benefits on sexual favors

If you are being sexually harassed at work, you should report it to your supervisor and/or the human resources department.  Be sure to keep a detailed record of each instance of harassment.  It is important to note that it is illegal for your employer retaliate against you for reporting the sexual harassment.  An employer cannot terminate you or take other negative actions against you for your reporting.

If your employer has failed to reasonably prevent or correct the harassing behavior, the attorneys at Hartung Schroeder can help protect your rights.


Travis has been a law clerk at Hartung Schroeder for the past year and will join the firm as an associate attorney upon completing his JD and MBA at Drake University. Some of his experience includes assisting clients with forming nonprofit organizations and other business entities as a student attorney in the Drake Legal Clinic. In the future, he hopes to develop a real estate practice that will complement the firm’s diverse areas of practice.