Sexual Harassment, in law. In general, there are two types of sexual harassment. The first type, sometimes referred to as quid pro quo harassment, occurs when a job benefit is directly tied to an individual's submission to or rejection of a request for sexual favors. The second type involves verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature that causes interference with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating or offensive atmosphere in the workplace. Most victims of sexual harassment are women; the perpetrators generally are male coworkers or men who hold positions of authority over them.

A number of countries have laws prohibiting sexual harassment. In the United States, sexual harassment violates federal and state antidiscrimination laws. Sexual harassment was ruled to be a violation of federal law in 1980 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared that it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986). The problem of sexual harassment became a topic of national attention in 1991 during the Senate hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, who was charged with sexually harassing behavior by a former employee, Anita Hill.