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Examples of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Even in this day and age, sexual harassment in the workplace is sometimes common occurrence and can negatively affect your job performance as well as your overall mental healthy. Spark News has previously covered what to do if you feel you are being sexually harassed in the workplace. If you feel you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment, it is important to deal with the situation quickly before it gets out of hand. But what if you are unsure if what you are experiencing is actually workplace sexual harassment.

By legal definition, workplace sexual harassment is, “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment”. This covers a wide spectrum of behavior however that is usually broken down into four categories: verbal/written, physical, nonverbal and visual. Following are examples workplace sexual harassment.

Verbal or written.
-This can include inappropriate sexual comments about clothing, personal behavior or a person’s body
-Telling sexual or sex-based inappropriate jokes
-Sending unwanted suggestive letters, notes or e-mails
-Requesting sexual favors, making sexual innuendos or repeatedly asking someone out
-Telling lewd jokes or sharing sexual anecdotes
-Inquiring about someone’s sexual history or sexual orientation
-Making derogatory remarks about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity

-Blocking a person’s physical movement
-Inappropriate and unwanted touching of a person and or their clothing
-Other inappropriate touching including kissing, hugging, patting, stroking or rubbing
-Purposefully brushing up against another person

-Looking a person’s body up and down
-Whistling or staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner
-Offensive gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature
-Following a person
-Making inappropriate sexual gestures

-Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers or emails that are in sexual nature
-Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos, such as pornography, with co-workers
-Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace

These are just a few examples of workplace sexual harassment and what type of behavior constitutes each category. There is a whole array of other types of behavior that may fall into the spectrum of workplace sexual harassment as well. Just remember, if you are feeling uncomfortable at work by someone’s inappropriate behavior towards you, then it might just be workplace sexual harassment and it should be dealt with swiftly. No one should have to deal with this type of behavior, especially in the workplace.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Plotnick Law

Stephanie Becerra

Stephanie Becerra is a Chicago native. She spent a couple of years working in social services before she realized that her passion was in writing. She is now writing full-time. When she has free time she enjoys reading and also listening to records on her dusty record player.

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