Attorney Marya Sieminski joined the Law Offices of Sam Bernstein in 2003. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan
state courts and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. Marya has worked as a trial lawyer for 10 years and exclusively represented
victims in personal injury litigation and in workers compensation claims. She also was appointed by the Governor to serve on the State of Michigan Workers
Compensation Qualifications Advisory Committee.
Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination - Overview Of Michigan Law
By Marya Sieminski
Under Michigan law, sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination. It usually occurs when someone - man or woman - makes an
unwelcome sexual advance. This offensive and unwanted conduct creates an uncomfortable, intimidating, and "hostile" workplace environment.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Michigan's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act identifies two broad categories of sexual harassment - quid pro quo
and hostile work environment.
According to Section 103 (h) of this Michigan law, sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual
advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
Submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition either explicitly or implicitly to obtain employment, public accommodations or public
services, education, or housing.
Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting such individual's employment, public
accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's employment, public accommodations or public
service, education, or housing environment.
Applying these employment discrimination laws to real-life situations is complicated. If you or a loved one has experienced employment discrimination, it
is important to talk with a Michigan employment discrimination lawyer with experience in Michigan and federal employment law.
Sexual Harassment - Quid
Pro Quo Harassment
Quid Pro Quo is a Latin phrase meaning "this for that." In other words, it involves an exchange or bargain
between two parties. Under Michigan law, any exchange that involves sex in the employment setting is illegal.
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment may
be the most explicit form of harassment. Frequently, an employer or supervisor with authority over a worker demands that she or he provide sexual favors in exchange
for continued employment and/or promotion.
Obviously, this creates a terrible situation for the worker. No one should be treated in this way. You
need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Sexual Harassment - Hostile Work Environment
Hostile environment sexual
harassment happens in a workplace, when an employer, supervisor, or co-worker does or says things that make the victim feel very uncomfortable because of his or
her sex. The harassment occurs, even if no one makes a specific demand for sexual favors. Instead, the victim suffers harassment because she or he has to try to
work in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
To prove a claim for hostile work environment, the harassment must be severe and
persistent. Evidence of an occasional offensive remark or sexual joke is not enough. Courts often treat these infrequent comments as just "stray
An employer is legally responsible for the harm caused by a hostile work environment, if the employer failed to take prompt and adequate remedial
action, after it had reasonable notice of the harassment. Generally, the victim of harassment should report it to management promptly, to give the employer notice and
an opportunity to investigate the problem.
Complex legal issues arise in claims for hostile environment caused by sexual harassment. However, you do not
have to put up with this form of workplace discrimination.
Sexual Harassment The Victims
Although the majority of victims are women
harassed by men, other types of unlawful sexual harassment include:
Men sexually harassed by women
Women sexually harassed by women
Men sexually harassed by men
Sexual harassment victims range from young to old, from executives to unskilled workers, from married to single, and from attractive to unattractive.
Often, it is unclear why a certain person is singled out. From a legal standpoint, the aggressor's reason for targeting a victim is not relevant. The harassment is
unacceptable -- and illegal.
Sexual harassment victims subjected to any type of unlawful workplace harassment should talk with a Michigan employment
discrimination lawyer with experience in Michigan and federal employment law.
The Law Offices of Samuel I. Bernstein, our callsamMichigan personal injury and job discrimination law firm, has championed the rights of seriously injured Michigan victims for