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Types of sexual harassment in the workplace

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Workplace Harassment |

Workplace harassment can manifest in many forms. Sexual harassment is one of the most unsettling, as it may involve pervasive violations of an individual’s dignity and rights. It can create a hostile and uncomfortable environment that can profoundly affect a person’s well-being and ability to perform their job effectively.

If you are an employee, you should be able to work in an environment devoid of unwanted sexual advances, comments or behaviors that undermine your sense of safety, respect and professionalism. The following are common types of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Quid pro quo

This type of sexual harassment occurs when you are subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person in a position of power or authority such as a supervisor or manager. This individual may explicitly or implicitly suggest that your job status, promotion, salary increase or other employment benefits are contingent upon your compliance with their sexual demands or favors.

Physical harassment

Physical harassment in the workplace involves any form of unwanted physical contact or assault of a sexual nature. If you find yourself subjected to such behavior, it’s crucial to recognize that it is not acceptable and you have the right to speak up. This can include instances of touching, groping, kissing or any other physical behavior that is sexual in nature and is not consensual.

Hostile work environment

Another type of sexual harassment is the creation of a hostile work environment. This occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct, such as comments, jokes, gestures or images, creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile atmosphere in the workplace. This behavior may not necessarily involve direct requests for sexual favors or benefits, but it can still create discomfort and distress for the victim.

Remember, your safety and well-being are paramount and you should not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace. You may consider seeking legal guidance and/or reporting the harassment to HR or higher authorities to help ensure that appropriate action is taken to address an unacceptable situation and protect your rights and well-being in the workplace.