We often associate workplace sexual harassment with a person in power requesting sexual favors in return for raises, promotions, job perks, etc. However, sexual harassment comes in many forms.
Recognizing the different signs of sexual harassment can help ensure a safe workplace for everyone.
A hostile work environment can also be sexual harassment
Workplace sexual harassment takes many different forms, each with its own harmful impact on the target. Here are some of the most common types, in addition to quid pro quo:
- Unwanted sexual advances, such as inappropriate touching, hugging, kissing, requests for dates or sexual propositions.
- Sexual assault and physical harassment include any non-consensual physical contact.
- Cyber sexual harassment involves sending inappropriate emails, texts, or messages or sharing explicit content.
- Sexual harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity may come in the form of derogatory remarks, exclusion, or any discriminatory behavior.
Sexual harassment creates an offensive and hostile work environment. The victim is subjected to comments and behaviors that affect their ability to perform their job. It can lead to stress, anxiety, decreased job satisfaction and physical health issues. Furthermore, it can also result in financial instability if the employee feels they must leave their job to escape the hostile environment.
A hostile work environment can also hurt a business through:
- Decreased productivity
- Low employee morale
- Legal repercussions
- Damaged reputation in the community
Workplace sexual harassment demeans individuals because of their sex. Employers need to recognize the signs and prevent it through strict policies, regular training and promoting a culture of respect.
Everyone has the right to a safe and respectful workplace. If you are experiencing harassment in the workplace, it’s crucial to speak up. You can report the behavior to a supervisor or the human resources department. If they fail to address the issue, you may have grounds for filing a lawsuit.