Sexual harassment at the workplace is an abuse of power meant to intimidate and discriminate. Many people’s careers have been derailed by the trauma that comes with it, especially those who have had to quit their jobs. It may be challenging to determine what constitutes harassment, especially when it isn’t overt.
It’s important to be aware of all the kinds of behavior that fall under harassment to protect yourself. This is what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace:
This refers to any unsolicited, inappropriate touches on the victim against their will. It includes behaviors such as massaging someone’s shoulders without invitation, groping, unwelcome contact, etc. This behavior may quickly escalate to sexual assault or violence.
Comments about someone’s appearance, sexual orientation and lifestyle can be considered harassment. This may also include offensive phone calls and sexually charged jokes or insults, either orally or written.
This conduct includes the use of visual media such as photos and videos to display sexual material or make inappropriate sexual advances. The use of sexually suggestive gestures, catcalls and whistles can also be considered harassment.
Quid pro quo
In this situation, sexual favors are solicited through threats or a promise of a reward. The victim is either punished for rejecting sexual advances, e.g., by demotion or they’re rewarded for accepting advances, e.g., by receiving a promotion, raise, or favors.
Sexual harassment can take many different forms, some more subtle than others. It can be difficult to identify sexual harassment in the workplace, but there are signs that you can look out for. If you experience any of these behaviors, know that you are not alone and that it is not your fault. You have a right to speak up and get help.