What are the telltale signs of sexual harassment in the workplace?

Workplace sexual harassment isn’t often easy to identify objectively. The difference between a friendly gesture and an inappropriate one can mean different things to different people. Fortunately, there are clear signs of sexual harassment and options that you can exploit to combat this vice. 

Everyone deserves a safe and stress-free work environment devoid of all kinds of unhealthy practices like discrimination and sexual harassment. Employers may be held liable if they turn a blind eye to the signs and complaints of sexual harassment from their employees or if they fail to make an effort to provide safe working places.

Here are the common signs of workplace sexual harassment that you should be on the lookout for. 

Use of sexually-oriented gestures

The use of sexually themed utterances, gestures or remarks about another person’s sexuality or sexual experiences is not appropriate in the workplace. These activities can be in-person, via social media, phone calls, emails or other forms of communication. It is important to note that sexual harassment can go beyond the workplace. 

Sending sexualized videos, images and messages can also amount to a violation of workplace sexual harassment policies.

Unwarranted physical contact

This is, perhaps, the most common type of workplace sexual harassment. If an employer or colleague is touching you in an unwelcomed manner, this may pass for sexual harassment. Sometimes, an incident of physical contact may seem accidental. However, a repeat incident should be a reason for concern. 

Demands for sexual favors

Quid Pro Quo (something in return for something) demands happen when people in positions of power offer certain benefits in return for sexual favors. For instance, if your team leader asks you for a date in return for a promised promotion, this can qualify for sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can also happen if your team leader threatens to take certain actions against you for rejecting their sexual advances. 

Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable. Knowing the signs of workplace sexual harassment can help you raise the issue with your employer or put together the right evidence for your case should the matter end up litigated in court. 

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