Tangible Employment and Action – Everything You Need To Know

Tangible employment action is a concept that is still new to many people. 

It’s an idea that originated in the workplace, but now it has permeated society. 

“tangible” means that tangible employment actions are not difficult to detect. They do not involve secret meetings or other communication methods with your employer through third parties.

It’s time we discuss everything you need to know about Tangible employment and action.

Article Road Map

What Is Tangible Employment Action?

Tangible employment action is a type of adverse employment action. Adverse actions can be taken against an employee for certain reasons, such as discrimination or harassment. 

Suppose you feel you have been given a tangible employment action at work because of something in your personal life, such as getting divorced or having a child. 

In that case, your employer could consider this an adverse action, even though it may look like one at first glance.

Tangible employment action also refers to any behaviour influencing someone’s ability to do their job effectively and efficiently. 

In essence, tangible actions from supervisors or coworkers can cause employees stress, anxiety and depression.

While this behaviour may seem like nothing more than an unfortunate byproduct of working with people who aren’t perfect, these actions can lead to serious consequences for your business if left unchecked.

What Style Of Harassment Is Tied To A Tangible Employment Action?

If a harassment claim is tied to employment action, the harasser has been fired or disciplined somehow. 

This can mean anything from being given a demotion to being fired. There are two types of harassment claims:

  • Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is a harassment that makes the workplace intimidating, hostile or offensive. The harasser doesn’t need to be a supervisor or coworker, although they are often involved in some capacity. 

It could happen when someone is harassed by their coworkers due to their gender, race or religion.

Harassment can come from any person who has authority over you at work (or has access to your job information). An example would be if someone repeatedly sent inappropriate emails or text messages to one of your coworkers, and others knew this behaviour in the office and yourself.

Another example is when a man who is constantly made fun of by his coworkers because he wears a skirt every day at work could file an EEOC complaint against his employer, saying that they have created a hostile work environment for him because they don’t allow male employees who wear skirts into their building on Sundays when they are supposed to be closed.

You may also feel uncomfortable working at certain times because of various reasons such as:

  • You may feel unsafe because there are too many people around when you’re alone with them;
  • You might feel intimidated by an employee who seems intimidating;
  • Or maybe even harassed because something happened recently, and it’s still affecting how much energy there is left over after dealing with everything else in life right now?
  • Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo harassment happens when a supervisor or manager offers a tangible employment action in exchange for sexual favours or the promise of sexual favours. This can include things like pay raises, bonuses and promotions. The legal definition of quid pro quo includes any action that “is explicitly or implicitly conditioned on the recipient’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances.”

Quid pro quo harassment is illegal under federal law (Title VII). Violations may also occur if a manager requires employees not performing their duties adequately to engage in sex acts before being allowed to return to work or demote them from positions of authority within your organization.

  • Retaliation

Retaliation is illegal. You can do whatever you want as long as it’s not against the law or anyone else’s rights. 

If someone asks you for something and then refuses your offer in order not only to gain something valuable but also to punish you for refusing them, there would be retaliation occurring again since both parties were doing what was asked without any formality about it beforehand.

This is illegal retaliation if someone takes action against you because they think your behaviour violated their rights (like filing a complaint). 

It can lead to legal consequences like fines or jail time.

To avoid retaliation:

  • Ensure that everyone understands what they’re supposed to be doing before they start working at your company.
  • Don’t assume anything about other people’s behaviour.
  • Don’t tell anyone anything until after everything has been settled.
  • Make sure that no one knows about any complaints made against them except for those who are directly involved in dealing with them.
  • Interference With A Protected Activity

Suppose you are a victim of interference with your protected activity. In that case, the courts will consider whether your employer has acted to stop you from exercising your right to join or participate in union activities. They may choose not to hire you if they do not believe this.

The first step in assessing whether there has been an interference with a protected activity is determining what type of employment relationship the parties have and what rights each party has under the law.

Why Is Tangible Employment Action Important?

Tangible employment actions are important because they are the most visible form of harassment and the most damaging to the victim.

They can be used as proof in a lawsuit or arbitration case, or they may even prove that management knew about an employee’s harassment and did nothing about it.

Tangible employment actions prove that an employer is responsible for their employees’ behaviour, even if it wasn’t directed at them. This is if there is no way for them to know what was happening behind closed doors unless someone speaks.

Who Can Impose A Tangible Employment Action?

The following individuals can impose a tangible employment action against you:

  • Your Employer. 

The employer is the one who has control over your job and can fire you if they want to. 

If your company has a union, it might be able to bargain with the union over terms of employment, such as when an employee will be terminated or demoted.

However, this won’t apply if no collective bargaining agreement exists with that particular organization.

  • Supervisors. 

Supervisors are managers who report directly back up through another level of management. They are responsible for ensuring all employees follow company policies while directing them towards achieving their goals effectively at work. 

They usually receive some training on how best to handle certain situations before gaining access to supervisory positions.

However, even experienced supervisors may not always know what steps to be taken when faced with certain issues during their tenure as leaders of an organization’s workforce.

Read Also: How To Deal With Workplace Harassment – Solved.

Types of Harassment Related To Tangible Employment Actions

Several types of harassment can take place in the workplace. Some of these include:

  • Sexual Harassment

This type involves requests for sexual favours, unwelcome sexual advances, or other verbal or physical sexual nature. 

It includes “quid pro quo” situations where an employee must submit to unwanted sexual activity in exchange for job benefits or promotions.

  • Racial Harassment

This type involves unwelcome racial slurs or jokes about someone’s race or ethnicity during work hours and off-duty time, such as at social gatherings. 

It also includes any other conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive environment based on race and ethnicity, including intimidating communications like:

  1. Email messages sent to colleagues; posting offensive material online, such as racist cartoons on Facebook pages.
  2. Making derogatory comments about individuals’ racial backgrounds when discussing them with coworkers.
  3. Posting photos showing group shots with people wearing clothes associated with different races so that they appear racially mixed up, even if you weren’t responsible for taking those pictures yourself.

Conditions Of Tangible Employment Action

Tangible employment action is a negative consequence of the employee’s job. 

It is not a form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, and it is not a disciplinary action in itself but rather an additional penalty imposed as punishment for misconduct. 

There must be some kind of misconduct to be considered tangible employment action. 

A misconduct that has been made clear by your employer and which has been determined to have caused harm to the company or caused damage to its reputation.

You may think you’re being held accountable for something. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your company considers it a tangible employment action because they may be trying to get you back on track instead of punishing you for doing something wrong.

Effects Of Tangible Employment Action

A tangible employment action is a form of harassment, and it can be considered a form of retaliation and lead to a hostile work environment. 

It is also considered discrimination because it affects the employee in their daily work, including any harassment or bullying behaviour at the workplace.

Is Failing to Promote a Tangible Employment Action?

A tangible employment action is a form of retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment. 

It also falls under a hostile work environment and quid pro quo, where one party obtains something in exchange for providing or withholding a benefit.

In some cases, tangible employment actions may be considered interference with another’s protected activity. 

For example, if you have filed an EEOC charge against your employer for sexual harassment or racial discrimination.

However, after filing your complaint, you are removed from your job due to being given this type of tangible employment action; then, you could have grounds for filing an unfair labour practice charge against your employer and suing them if necessary.

How To Use Tangible Employment Action In Your Business?

You could maximize the tangible employment action in your business via the following ways:

  • Use tangible employment action to help you identify and correct a problem.
  • Use the tangible employment action to help you determine if a hostile work environment exists.
  • Use the tangible employment action to help you determine if sexual harassment occurs.
  • Use the tangible employment action to protect your business from liability claims, such as those related to discrimination in hiring or firing employees, sexual harassment, etc., by conducting a thorough investigation into all relevant circumstances surrounding any complaint.


1. What Are Examples Of Tangible Employment Action?

Tangible employment actions are decisions that significantly change an employee’s employment status. Examples include decisions involving hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, compensation, benefits and reassignments.

2. What Is An Example Of Tangible Job Detriment Or Quid Pro Quo?

For example, a supervisor tells an employee that her work hours will be cut unless she goes on a date with the supervisor.

3. What Are Examples Of Tangible Employee Benefits?

Some common examples include cash bonuses, gift cards, and merchandise.

4. What Is An Example Of Tangible Employment Action Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is the style of harassment tied to a tangible employment action. In quid pro quo sexual harassment, a boss might offer you sexual advances in exchange for a promotion. You then perform sexual favours, and your boss gives you a promotion.

5. What Is An Employment Action?

California law states that an adverse employment action is anything the employer does that adversely affects the terms, conditions or privileges of a worker’s employment.

6. How Does HR Handle Harassment?

They will carefully look at the evidence and refer to the companies’ anti-harassment or workplace policies.

7. Are Employees Tangible Assets?

Even employees are considered tangible assets; intangible assets are not physical and include intellectual property.

8. What Are The Benefits Of Tangible?

Tangible benefits are all those advantages that are quantifiable and measurable.

9. How Do I Win A Harassment Case At Work?

To win a harassment case, you must prove you have been harassed.

10. Who Is A Tangible Person?

Tangible usually wouldn’t be used to describe a person, but in this context, “tangible person” means the person can be seen and comprehended.


The tangible employment action can be used to protect your business and employees from harassment. 

You must know how to use this tool fairly, but it also protects the company from liability, so they don’t have to pay damages if someone sues them over an incident of harassment. 

If you think your company may face harassment or discrimination issues, contact (800) 438-5832 or visit www.dianeressellaw.com for more information about tangible employment action and how they can help.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.