Information on Sexual
Harrassment in the workplace
provided by the WA State
Office of the Attorney General
Sexual Harrassment Law
A Guide for Employees in Washington State
EVERYONE SHOULD BE TREATED WITH RESPECT AT WORK
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination involving
unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other
verbal or physical conduct that is based on sex. Sexual harassment is a
violation of federal and state law.
There are two types of sexual harassment:
1. Hostile Work Environment
Harassment that is frequent or severe enough to interfere with your
ability to perform your job. The behavior must be directed at you
because of your gender, and can include unwelcome, sexually
suggestive or gender based comments or jokes: unwelcome and
repeated requests for dates; offensive gestures; inappropriate touching;
or display of pornographic materials.
2.Quid Pro Quo
Harassment that occurs when a supervisor or manager asks for sexual
favors from you in return for employment benefits such as a promotion,
salary increase, career development opportunities, special projects or
other benefits related to your job.
Requirements for Employers
Employers may be liable for sexual harassment if they do not adopt and
enforce policies to:
•Provide procedures for employees who have experienced sexual
harassment to report complaints;
•Thoroughly and promptly investigate complaints of sexual harassment;
•Take prompt and effective action to eliminate further sexual
harassment in the workplace.
What should I Do if I experience or Observe Sexual Harassment?
If you observe another employee being harassed, or experience
harassment yourself, you should do one or more of the following:
(A) Communicate to the harasser or their supervisor that the
offensive behavior is unwelcome.