Forms of sexual harassment at the workplace

| Oct 12, 2021 | Sexual Harassment |

Sexual harassment can be defined as any unwelcome and unwanted advance or conduct that interferes with an individual’s performance on the job or creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. Workplace sexual harassment is a violation of human rights and a form of sex discrimination, yet it remains pervasive and largely unreported.

There are two primary forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, as detailed below.

Hostile work environment

Any employee may make a work environment hostile for another by engaging in a wide range of actions. These may include making rude jokes or making inappropriate glances, or spewing degrading comments based on gender stereotypes. Such treatment may even escalate to sexual assault or even acts of physical violence. Other broad forms of sexual harassment that can amount to a hostile work environment include:

  • Touching or groping another party without their explicit consent
  • Sending unsolicited, offensive correspondence like photos or media that contains sexually explicit content
  • Repeated or overly persistent requests for dates, among others.

Generally, any action that makes the other person uncomfortable based on their gender may be considered sexual harassment.

What is quid-pro-quo harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is usually perpetrated by someone in a position of authority. That individual uses their power or influence to ask for sexual favors in exchange for work benefits like a promotion, favorable working shifts, a wage increase or job retention. The victim of such acts doesn’t have to give in to the demands for a perpetrator to be held liable for sexual harassment.

There are various laws that protect you from any form of workplace sexual harassment. If you are a victim, you should not back down. Getting the justice you deserve means taking action against the perpetrator, and it is essential to make informed decisions on how to go about it.


FindLaw Network
Photo of Jefferson County Judicial Center