The Problem

With the #metoo movement, most people think they have a good general understanding of what “sexual harassment” is.  However, it is not as simple as most expect.


Both Title VII and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 prohibit sexual harassment or harassment based on other protected categories. Under these laws, harassment can occur in two ways.

The first–called quid pro quo harassment— occurs when an employee must choose between giving into a sexual demand or being fired (or suffering some other adverse employment action). 

The second is being subjected to a hostile work environment.

An employee has only short period of time to make a complaint. Texas law requires the employee to file a charge of discrimination within 180 days of the harassment. Federal law requires the employee to file a charge within 300 days of the harassment.

Before we can take a sexual harassment case, we need to gather the facts to see if we think we can prove either the quid pro quo or hostile work environment theory.

Quid Quo Pro Harassment

To prove a quid pro quo harassment case,

  1.  otrthe employee must have received unwelcome sexual or other advances or requests for sexual favors, and
  2. the employee’s response must have affected his or her employment.

Hostile Work Environment

To prove a hostile work environment, the employee must have been subjected to unwelcome sexual or other harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to affect a term, condition, or privilege of employment.

Under certain circumstances, the employee must show that the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take appropriate remedial action after the employee complained.

Moving Forward

Each case turns on its own facts. It can be difficult to determine what behavior rises to the level of illegal sexual or other harassment. If you believe you have been  harassed in your employment, contact us by clicking Tell Us About Your Problem and filling in the questionnaire.