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What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like in the Workplace?
What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like in the Workplace?

What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like in the Workplace?

When it comes to defining what constitutes sexual harassment, the bottom line is that any conduct creating a hostile, offensive, oppressive, or intimidating work environment can be sexual harassment. When you think that you have been the victim of sexual harassment, be sure to seek the help of a sexual harassment attorney.

While professionalism is the hallmark of most successful companies, workplaces have become somewhat looser in their enforcement of certain standards, and some employees or even employers occasionally partake in actions that constitute violations of harassment laws. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as including requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and other kinds of abusive or offensive conduct, but this is far from being a complete list of offending behaviors.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can include all of the following behaviors:

  • Unwanted kissing
  • Touching of breasts or genitals
  • Butt slapping
  • Rape
  • Other forms of sexual assault
  • Making sexually explicit comments
  • Uninvited massages
  • Sexually suggestive gestures
  • Catcalls
  • Ogling
  • Cornering an employee in a tight space
  • Repeated compliments of an employee’s appearance
  • Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos
  • Commenting on an employee’s attractiveness 
  • Talking about sex life in front of employees
  • Displaying sexual images or posters in the workplace
  • Staring in some sexually suggestive or offensive manner
  • Spreading sexual rumors about employees
  • Telling lewd jokes
  • Making sexual anecdotes or innuendos 
  • Inappropriate sexual gestures
  • Making sexual comments about an employee’s appearance, clothing, or body parts
  • Asking sexual questions
  • Making offensive comments about an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Asking an employee about their sex life
  • Circulating nude photos or pictures of women in bikinis or shirtless men in the workplace
  • Repeated hugs or another unwanted touching
  • Sending sexually suggestive emails or text messages
  • Giving unwanted gifts that are sexual or romantic in nature
  • Shunning an employee during meetings
  • Belittling an employee’s contributions
  • Reprimanding an employee in front of co-workers
  • Intimidating statements or threats

While most people know that sexual harassment by a coworker or manager is illegal, not as many are aware that an employer has an obligation to protect their employees from sexual harassment by outsiders such as customers, clients, vendors, business partners, and others. When an employer knows or should know sexual harassment is happening, they have to take reasonable steps to prevent and correct it.

It is important to also remember that sexual harassment is not just limited to men harassing women. Sexual harassment can also occur the other way or may even involve same-sex issues such as men harassing men or women harassing women.

CNBC reported that almost one-fifth of Americans reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, with 19 percent of American adults overall saying they had been victims, while the figure was 10 percent for men and 27 percent for women. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer conditions future employment or benefits on the employee’s participation in unwanted sexual conduct or acceptance of abusive or offensive conduct that is related to the employee’s gender.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Sexual Harassment Attorney

Have you been the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace in California? Minnis & Smallets LLP can aggressively pursue legal action on your behalf to help you get a measure of justice for the wrongs you have endured.

Our firm understands how difficult these claims can be for the average person to file, so we will work closely with you and be by your side every step of the way, so you are not left to handle anything by yourself. Call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation so we can more closely examine the details of your case and outline what legal steps can be taken in your case.

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