Jump directly to the Content

The Law on Sexual Harassment

What to do if someone is accused.If someone alleges sexual harassment, pastors should consult with their attorneys for specific advice. But here are some basics to keep in mind.


As the Supreme Court explained in Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc. (1993), discrimination in the "terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" on the basis of sex is sexual harassment. Courts have recognized two forms of sexual harassment:

quid pro quo: When an employee is subjected to unwelcome advances and submission is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of employment. The employee either complies or risks termination or demotion.

hostile environment: When the employer (directly or through agents) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

The conduct must be severe and pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find the environment to be hostile and abusive, and the victim must perceive the environment to be abusive. The frequency and severity of the ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Yes, Charisma Has a Place in the Pulpit
Yes, Charisma Has a Place in the Pulpit
But let’s not mistake it for calling.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.