Home / EDUCATING PEOPLE / 6 Forms of Sexual Harassment: Do You Know How to Detect It If It’s Happening to You or One of Your Colleagues?

6 Forms of Sexual Harassment: Do You Know How to Detect It If It’s Happening to You or One of Your Colleagues?

Sexual harassment is still a big concern in the workplace because of the prevalence and the impact it has on the victims. It can also be difficult to detect, especially by those who are not a part of what is happening. If you’re worried it might be happening in your workplace, here are six signs you will want to watch out for.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo is generally used to describe getting something in exchange for doing something. In the workplace, it is often used to define a type of sexual harassment where continued employment or advancement depends on the sexual abuse victims providing sexual favours to their employer. This is normally between someone who is in power in the workplace and a person they have power over as they use their job title to request sexual favours.

Requesting Sexual Favours

A second common type of sexual harassment is the request for sexual favours. In these situations, the person requesting sexual favours is a coworker or an employer, and they do not require the victim to do the sexual favour in return for anything. There is no power being leveraged in this type of sexual harassment, though the victim may still feel like they have to comply for other reasons.

Verbal Sexual Harassment

Verbal harassment, such as jokes the victim finds unfunny or hurtful, can become sexual harassment if they refer to anything sexual. This includes any jokes that are made at the expense of someone with a certain gender or a specific sexual orientation. Verbal sexual harassment can be done by employers or coworkers and can be just as serious as other types of sexual harassment, especially if the joking or other verbal harassment continues over some time.

Sexual Advances

As the request of sexual favours, any unwelcome sexual advances can be harassment. These advances are typically more than just requesting a sexual favour and can include sexual assault if the coworker or employer touches the victim. It is better to presume any sexual advances are unwelcome in the workplace.

Explicit Photos, Emails or Texts that are Unwanted

Sending explicit photos or messages via text or email can be sexual harassment if they are unwanted. Like with sexual advances, it’s better to presume any explicit photos, emails, or texts will be unwanted by the recipient in the workplace. Explicit messages are similar to verbal harassment, except it is done through email or text instead of in person.

Repeatedly Asking for a Date

Asking a coworker out on a date is common in today’s world, but employees need to be cautious. One time is typically okay, but it should stop if they are told no. If a coworker or employer continues to ask the same person on a date, despite being told no each time, it could become sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is still a serious issue. There are many different types of sexual harassment, but they all include a coworker or employer sexually harassing the victim. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, speak with a lawyer today to learn about the options you have to handle it and to get help dealing with the potential issues you may have when reporting it.


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