What Types of Sexual Harassment Can You Face at Work?

Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be tolerated. As an American citizen, you have the right to work in a professional, harassment-free workplace. You need a legal advocate when a coworker, boss, or supervisor sexually harasses or discriminates against you in the workplace.

What Does Sexual Harassment Represent?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes workplace sexual harassment unlawful. Title VII prohibits two categories of sexual harassment in companies with 15 or more employees:

  1. When a boss asks for sexual favors or engages in other sexual behavior in exchange for a tangible employment action, this is known as quid pro quo harassment. “I’ll give you the promotion if you sleep with me” or “I might fire you unless you go out with me” are two examples.
  2. When an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual, physical, or verbal behavior that is so severe or persistent that it affects the individual’s working conditions or creates an oppressive work environment. It is referred to as a hostile work environment.

Types of Sexual Harassment

While quid pro quo harassment is easy to identify, hostile work environment accusations can be more complicated. Harassment occurs when a person engages in one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Making obscene or offensive gestures
  • Asking for sexual favors
  • Non-consensual touching or groping
  • Displaying obscene photos or videos
  • Telling off-color jokes
  • Making sexually suggestive comments

Women aren’t the only ones who face sexual harassment at work. Men can be sexually harassed in several ways, as well. Males and females can both engage in sexual or gender discrimination in the workplace. This can also include harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or appearance.

Most experts think that sexual harassment is mostly unreported or underreported in the United States and worldwide. According to studies, 40 to 90 percent of women in the United States have experienced this type of harassment at work or while on the job. Nearly two-thirds of sexually related harassment accusations are filed against bosses.

Dealing with Harassment at the Workplace

Verbal sexual or non-sexual abuse is a type of harassment that can occur in the workplace. If you are harassed at work, you should submit a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and contact a sexual harassment lawyer for legal guidance.

However, to submit a successful claim, you must be able to show that:

  1. You brought up the harassment with your employer.
  2. Your employer did nothing to address the harassment.

You must report the harassment to your employer’s human resources department first and keep precise records of the dates, times, and nature of each incident. If you cannot resolve the matter, you must submit a claim with the EEOC within 180 days, either by mail or in person. A sexual harassment lawyer might be able to help you with this as well.

It’s Critical to Understand the Rules

When job hunting, it’s critical to understand the guidelines that govern what employers may and may not ask concerning some of the situations described above.

Employers should not inquire about your race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disability, ethnic background, place of origin, sexual preferences, or age during an interview. If this occurs, it should be a warning sign that you might not want to work in this company.

The Effects and Consequences

While it became more difficult to establish any legal recourse for sexual overtures, no one could dispute the negative consequences they have on any company’s general work environment and productivity. Turning a blind eye to abusive behavior has a negative effect on the whole business; the impact of sexual harassment on employees lowers the morale and productivity of the company as a whole.

The employer, on its part, would pay enormous expenditures to protect its image and find acceptable substitutes for the bullied employees. As a result, employers need to ensure that their workers are treated with dignity.

Sexual harassment has several negative consequences, including:

  • Guilt and self-blame
  • Insomnia or other sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, fear, and a loss of interest in one’s work
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Physical or emotional isolation from friends, family, and coworkers.

What Might be Considered Sexual Harassment

Sexist remarks and behaviors can also be considered harassment. Title VII makes it illegal to engage in offensive behavior based on an employee’s gender that is harsh enough to produce an oppressive work environment. For example, if women are pushed to be more “feminine” or live up to other gender stereotypes, are excluded from critical meetings, and have their work undermined by their male counterparts, the workplace may be hostile.

Most individuals know that sexual harassment by a boss or coworker is against the law. However, under Title VII, an employer must safeguard their employees against sexual harassment by third parties. Customers, clients, vendors, business partners, and others are all included. As long as the employer knows or should know that harassment is taking place, they must take measures to stop it. This type of harassment is not limited to women. When most people think of it, they see a guy bothering a female. While this remains the most typical situation, several instances of women harassing men have been reported. Same-sex harassment is likewise prohibited. Harassment does not have to be driven by sexual desire. Contact a sexual harassment lawyer for legal guidance.

Featured image by Unsplash

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!