Sexual harassment is a persistent problem that can affect any employee, regardless of gender, age, or sexuality. When it happens, it can make the workplace much more unpleasant, and may lead to both personal and professional consequences. Here are seven ways you may experience sexual harassment in the workplace:
Commenting on appearance or desirability
One common way that people may engage in sexual harassment is commenting on an employee’s appearance, in particular how desirable they are as a romantic or sexual partner. This kind of inappropriate conduct can be not only deeply embarrassing, but potentially impact a person’s ability to work with others in the company.
Use of inappropriate language
Another common form of sexual harassment comes from the use of inappropriate or unprofessional language, particularly that of a sexual nature. This could mean the use of specific profanity or slurs, or it could mean approaching topics of conversation that are not normally considered appropriate for a work environment.
Sharing inappropriate images
Some people will harass other employees by intentionally sharing inappropriate photos or art with their coworkers. Often, this is done to deliberately make them uncomfortable, or as a roundabout and unprofessional way of flirting.
Violating personal space
Sexual harassment may also take the form of people violating a victim’s personal space, getting far closer to them than is necessary for no real reason. Again, this can be done to make a victim uncomfortable, or it may be the prelude to flirting or more severe forms of harassment.
Unwanted physical contact
One of the more blatant types of sexual harassment comes in the form of groping or other unwanted physical contact. This kind of harassment is not only a potential violation of employment law, it may (depending on the severity) escalate to the level of criminal conduct.
Demanding sexual favors
In some cases, an employee will be harassed by a coworker or boss when they demand the employee perform sexual favors for them. This may be incentivized with promises of professional or personal rewards, or they may use coercion (such as the threat of professional consequences or the threat of violence) to compel compliance.
Retaliation for reporting harassment
When an employee reports harassment, either against themselves or someone else, they may become the victim of professional retaliation from their employer. If this happens, or they experience any other type of harassment, it is best to seek a lawyer with experience handling employment discrimination and harassment cases.
Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 43 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.