Workplace sexual harassment isn’t just one specific thing. Most often it is a combination of things that both men and women are subjected to at work that ultimately produces an uncomfortable or even toxic environment.
It’s important for both employers and employees to understand common types of workplace sexual harassment in order to identify and report them. For victims of sexual harassment at work, knowing what to look for can make documenting and reporting unwanted behavior easier, which will also increase the chances of stopping it.
1) “Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo is a latin phrase that means “this for that”. In the context of workplace sexual harassment, one of the most common types of harassment is one person (usually a supervisor or executive) requesting sexual favors in exchange for promotions, preferable treatment, additional compensation, etc.
Even if an employee is not explicitly propositioned, any suggestion or hint of offering career advancement in exchange for sex is harassment.
Ready To Speak With An Attorney?
2) Unwanted Advances
No matter how casual an employee’s workplace might be, workplace relationships should always remain professional and unwelcome advances are a common form of workplace sexual harassment.
Even simply asking a coworker on a date, the professional context can make it inappropriate. Pursuing romance and intimacy with uninterested colleagues can constitute sexual harassment.
3) Sexual Comments, Jokes, And Insults
Talking with, joking about, or insulting someone with language that is sexual in nature can quickly lead to sexual harassment at work. It’s often a difficult area that can be be subjective from one employer to the next and vary depending on the work environment.
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid conversations that could easily be misinterpreted or misconstrued as sexual harassment.
How To Handle Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment, there are several things you need to do before you contact an attorney. Once you’ve done those things, contact an experienced employment law attorney who will then help guide you through the next steps in the process.
While it can be intimidating and frightening to speak out, the best way to end workplace sexual harassment is to bring it to the attention of employers as quickly as possible. Keeping it a secret will only prolong the problem and increase the likelihood that it affects others as well.