Defining workplace harassment in Wisconsin

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2014 | Employment Law

Under Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Law, harassment can take two distinct forms in the workplace. The first type of harassment involves an employer singling out an employee based on factors such as their age, sex or sexual orientation. Another type of harassment occurs when an employer harasses based on these items. For example, making a crude sexual joke or making fun of a certain religion may fall under the second form of harassment.

How might harassment in the workplace manifest itself? In some cases, harassment may take the form of a quid pro quo. In other words, the promise of continued employment is based on an employee performing sexual or other favors for a manager or supervisor. Non-verbal harassment such as staring or unwanted gestures may be made by a colleague. Verbal or physical harassment such as making jokes about an individual’s sex life or unwanted touching could may also occur.

Generally, harassment occurs when there is a disparity of power between two parties regardless of gender. Workers who consent to the sexual demands of a manager or another colleague may still be considered victims of sexual harassment. Those who think that they may be victims of sexual harassment may not need to report the incident to be considered a victim of such abuse.

Offensive jokes, unwanted touching or a quid pro quo arrangement at work may all constitute harassment or a hostile work environment. Those who have been the victims of harassment may be entitled to compensation for lost wages if they are terminated for filing a complaint. Anyone considering filing a lawsuit may wish to get the help of an employment law attorney who may be able to help preserve the victim’s rights.

Source:, “Harassment in the Work Place“, September 14, 2014


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