Sexual harassment can take various forms in the employment context. Perhaps the most straightforward example is a situation where an employee is the victim of unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances and/or physical contact. Another form, called “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, has been making headlines this summer after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
Among other things, Carlson’s lawsuit claims Ailes “sabotaged her career” and terminated her employment because she refused his sexual advances. This is a classic case of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, which Black’s Law Dictionary defines as “sexual harassment in which an employment decision is based on the satisfaction of a sexual demand. This type of harassment might occur, for example, if a boss fired or demoted an employee who refused to go on a date with the boss.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission also give guidance on this type of sexual harassment:
“[U]nwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” constitutes sexual harassment when “submission to such conduct is made an implicit or explicit condition of an individual’s employment” or “submission to or rejection of such conduct affects employment opportunities.”
After Carlson filed her lawsuit on July 6, Fox News conducted an internal investigation. Other employees came forward with similar claims of sexual harassment against Ailes, including Megyn Kelly. On Thursday , Rupert Murdoch announced that Ailes was leaving Fox News and that Murdoch would be taking over as chairman and CEO in the interim. Murdoch and Ailes co-founded Fox News in the mid-1990s.
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