2 most prevalent forms of sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment can create an unkind and unsafe atmosphere for anyone in their place of work. This atmosphere is created when they receive uninvited sexual conduct that is persistent enough to interfere with their work performance or create a feeling of intimidation or hostility. 

Unfortunately, sexual harassment remains a prevalent issue in workplaces for many employees. Employees can benefit from familiarizing themselves with the most common forms of sexual harassment. By understanding these forms, employees can better recognize them and take the necessary legal steps to help protect themselves.

1. Quid pro quo harassment

Quid pro quo is among the most common manifestations of sexual harassment in the workplace. It involves conditioning employment benefits on sexual favors. This can take many forms, such as a supervisor offering a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual acts or threatening termination if an employee refuses unwanted advances.

Quid pro quo harassment is a clear abuse of power and is illegal. It’s important to remember that even subtle pressure, like suggestive comments tied to performance reviews, can fall under this category.

2. Unwelcome sexual advances

Unwelcome sexual advances encompass a range of inappropriate behaviors that create a sense of discomfort or intimidation for the recipient. This can include:

  • Verbal: Sexual comments, jokes, innuendo, propositions or threats.
  • Physical: Touching, groping, pinching, hugging or cornering someone.
  • Non-verbal: Vulgar gestures, being followed around or being forcefully shown sexually suggestive pictures or objects.

The key factor is whether the advances are uninvited. Therefore, even if the harasser has no intentions of offending, it’s still sexual harassment if they make the harassed employee feel uncomfortable.

Sexual harassment can take many forms, and it’s important to be aware of the different ways it can manifest in the workplace. Understanding these common forms is a crucial first step in advocating for a safe and respectful work environment for one’s self.

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