Sexual Harassment under Illinois Law Defined

posted by Peter LaSorsa  |  Aug 25, 2009 3:28 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

The Illinois Human Rights Act,  775 ILCS 5/2-102(D) prohibits:

Any employer, employee, agent of any employer, employment agency or labor organization to engage in sexual harassment; provided, that an employer shall be responsible for sexual harassment of the employer's employees by nonemployees or nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees only if the employer becomes aware of the conduct and fails to take reasonable corrective measures.

Illinois courts define sexual harassment in Illinois consistent with federal law, meaning any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment when:
  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for an employment decision affecting such individual; or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Harassment


There are two basic types of sexual harassment: Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo.

A hostile work environment is created when unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other type of conduct of a sexual nature that is intimidating, offensive or hostile substantially interferes with a person’s work performance. Examples of hostile environment sexual harassment, include, but are not limited to:
  • unwanted deliberate or repeated sexual behavior;
  • sexually suggestive objects, signs, or pictures;
  • unwelcome sexual gestures, touching, or pinching;
  • sexual innuendos or stories;
  • unwelcome hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking;
  • unwelcome sexual teasing, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
Quid pro quo means “something for something” and reflects the theory that the sexual harasser wants sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment or terms of employment.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature is made, explicitly or implicitly, a condition of employment or promotion. Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
  • suggesting to an individual that it is possible to be hired, promoted, or be advanced in the job if that person allows sexual favors;
  • asking a person to submit to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors as a condition of hiring, promotion, or advancement in the job; denying hire, promotion, or advancement in the job because the person has refused dates, sexual advances, or requests for sexual favors.

External Links

Links to external sites with additional information about this topic.

posted by Peter LaSorsa  |  Aug 25, 2009 3:28 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Related MEL Content

Articlesmore »

Questions & Answersmore »

Blog Articlesmore »

Have an Employment Law question?

Virginia Employment Lawyers

Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
Sheri R. Abrams PLLC
Oakton, VA
Matthew Sutter Matthew Sutter
Sutter & Terpak, PLLC
Annandale, VA
Gerald Lutkenhaus Gerald Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers Compensation & Disability Lawyer
Richmond, VA
Edward Lowry Edward Lowry
MichieHamlett
Charlottesville, VA

more Virginia Employment Lawyers