What does workplace sexual harassment look like?

There’s no excuse for sexual harassment in the workplace (or anywhere else). Should you find yourself a victim, it’s vital that you take the right steps to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Protecting yourself against workplace sexual harassment starts with understanding what you’re up against. And that means knowing what sexual harassment looks like in the first place.

Here are some of the most common examples of workplace sexual harassment:

  • Unwanted touching: For example, if your supervisor rubs your shoulders and tells you how good of a job you’re doing, it can be very uncomfortable. Should you tell them to stop but they persist, it’s a form of sexual harassment.
  • Request for sexual favors: It’s hard to believe that someone who do this, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
  • Consistently asking you for a date: It’s one thing to ask you for a date and then move on if you decline. It’s another thing entirely to continue with this, hoping to wear you down.
  • Inappropriate verbal conduct: This takes on many forms, such as telling lewd jokes, commenting on your appearance in a sexual manner and talking sexually about you to your coworkers.
  • Sharing inappropriate content: For example, sending you pornographic emails or text messages without your consent.

Should you find yourself dealing with any form of sexual harassment at work, don’t delay in standing up for yourself. The first thing you should do is tell the person to stop. And make it clear that you mean it. Don’t give them any reason to believe you’re okay with their advances.

You should then file a formal complaint with your HR department. You want your complaint on file, as you never know what could happen in the future. Your harasser could continue down the same path.

Depending on the response you get from your company, you may need to take additional action. For example, if they don’t take you seriously, you can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Don’t let someone ruin your work experience. If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, stand up for yourself and protect your legal rights.