People often think of sexual harassment as inappropriate touching; however, that only makes up a portion of sexual harassment cases in the workforce. It’s imperative for all workers and those who are in supervisory positions to understand the various other ways that sexual harassment can occur.
It isn’t always easy to spot sexual harassment when it isn’t outright touching. This is why some employees are uncertain about how they should react when sexual situations make them uncomfortable. Still, no employee should have to deal with unwanted sexual advances while they’re doing their work duties.
Verbal and visual sexual harassment
Many cases of sexual harassment are verbal or visual. This can include things like seeing obscene graffiti or hearing sexual remarks. Even jokes or comments of a sexual nature that are meant to be humorous can be sexual harassment if they’re unwanted by people who can hear them. This can include things like posting cartoons or including inappropriate remarks in emails to co-workers.
Sometimes, sexual harassment involves attempted seduction. Repeatedly asking someone out on a date or making other invites of a sexual nature can be considered harassment. The seduction can sometimes turn physical if the aggressor starts to touch or feel the other person. In some instances, coercion is also used against employees to get them to perform sexual activities.
Whether you were the target of the sexual harassment or a witness, you may opt to file a complaint about the behavior. Understanding your rights regarding sexual harassment in the workplace can help you to ensure your employer isn’t violating them. In some cases, you may have to take legal action to get the unwanted sexual harassment to stop.