What constitutes sexual harassment?

It is typically very difficult to assimilate when someone is the victim of sexual harassment, especially when the incident has occurred on the workspace. However, it is important to ask ourselves what are the behaviors that one should look out for when trying to figure out if there was any kind of harassment involved and, if so, was it sexual in nature?

What is sexual harassment?

In the workspace, it is unlawful to make unwelcomed sexual advances, requests or favors to fellow employees, staff members or even clients. This is typically seen through verbal and/or physical provocations that could potentially be sexual in nature or not. However, it is not always obvious to know what sexual harassment is. It is important to know what could be considered inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Inappropriate conduct:

Many of the following behaviors listed below qualify as potential sexual harassment:

  • Consistent compliments of a co-worker’s appearance
  • Mentioning the attractiveness of other people in front of other employees
  • Talking about an employee’s sex life
  • Asking a co-worker about his or her sex life
  • Passing on pornographic or nude content in the workplace, including shirtless, bikini and/or underwear pictures
  • Making sexual jokes
  • Sending suggestive texts messages and emails with strong sexual content
  • Giving unwanted sexual and/or romantic gifts to someone
  • Spreading sexual rumors about an employee
  • Unwanted touching of a fellow employee

The list could go on and there are several more behaviors that could be considered toxic and hostile in the work environment. It is important to know what these are to further put a stop to them and make sure that every employee is safe.

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