Broadly, courts recognize two categories of sexual harassment as actionable under Title VII. “Quid pro quo” harassment occurs when an employer conditions an employee’s job status, or takes a tangible employment action, based on the employee’s submission to a supervisor’s sexual harassment. Employers are strictly liable for sexual harassment that results in a tangible employment action.
The second category of sexual harassment is the “hostile work environment claim.” Here reporting harassment or conduct to a supervisor is relevant. An employer can avoid liability by proving that it reasonably tried to prevent and correct the bad behavior and the employee did not take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer, and this failure was unreasonable.