What workplace sexual harassment looks like

Sexual harassment is never acceptable in the workplace or anywhere else. Sexual harassment is a terrible thing to experience or even witness, yet many people still commit this behavior, some without even knowing they are doing it. The line of what is sexual harassment seems to have blurred, and it is time to clarify just what is harassment and what is not.

Sexual harassment occurs in any workplace, including schools. If a victim is unsure if someone sexually harassed them, they compare their situation to the following forms of harassment.

Quid pro quo

Quid pro quo is a term for someone offering a favor, service, or advantage in exchange for something. This exchange offer applies to sexual harassment, as well. An employer offering a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors is a typical example of quid pro quo harassment.

Verbal harassment

Unwanted comments of a sexual nature directed at a person is sexual harassment. Whether the statement is a comment about someone’s appearance or is allegedly a “joke,” the statement is still sexual harassment.

Physical contact

Unwanted touching like a pat on the back, brushing past someone, back massages, or touching private areas of a person are all forms of sexual harassment. Even repeated touching of someone’s hair can be sexual harassment.


A colleague or employer exposing themselves directly or electrotonically in an unwanted manner is sexual harassment. Sending illicit pictures via Snapchat, text, or other online methods is all harassment.

Trust your instincts

If you are uncertain if you are being or have been harassed in the workplace, chances are you have been. Consult with an attorney to discuss the true nature of what transpired, and what your options are to recover.


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