There are two main principles or ways that people can be sexually harassed in the US on the job. The first way is a quid pro quo and the other is a hostile work environment. According to the Advocates for Human Rights, a hostile work environment is where there is oppression and a persistent and pervasive atmosphere of harassment. It could be male-female, female-male, female-female or male-male.
Whichever way the victim identifies the actions, the hostile treatment is more than just one consideration or more than just one incident. It is an atmosphere, and for it to rise to the level that it can be actionable, it must be something that management is aware of and has not addressed the situation, either by counseling people, firing people, rearranging people or otherwise stopping it.
The other category is the quid pro quo. According to i-Sight, this is where somebody promises or threatens something in exchange for sexual favors. The most common way that this plays out is where power is used by one party who has power in the job over the other party. So it is an affair with the boss. If the boss is being approached by an assistant and he or she thinks that he is in a consensual relationship, he needs to be careful because a direct report can bring these types of charges against them. The quid pro quo is when there is some type of bargain back and forth between the parties.
These are the two main types of sexual discrimination or harassment on the job in the US. Each of them will require specific requirements and evidence.