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What is non-physical sexual harassment?

New York workers like you deserve a safe working environment. States have laws in place to help aid in this. But unfortunately, not every workplace manages to protect its employees.

You may face sexual harassment at work, as an example. In some cases, you may face non-physical sexual harassment. This is sometimes harder to pinpoint because it is not reported as often. What defines it, and how does it apply to you?

Why is non-physical sexual harassment under-reported?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission focuses on issues plaguing the workplace. Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of these issues. Non-physical sexual harassment is also an issue, but one that does not get as much attention. This is because non-physical sexual harassment cases are not “explosive”. Some do not consider them “news-worthy”. They often go under-reported, too. This is because you as a victim may not even realize you are the target of sexual harassment.

Forms of non-physical sexual harassment

Non-physical sexual harassment involves verbal harassment, coercion or threats. For example, a coworker may make a lewd comment about you to your face or behind your back. An employer may try to bribe you with promotions or bonuses in exchange for sexual favors. They may also try to threaten you with demotion. They could threaten you with reports to human resources about misconduct. They do this even if it was not your fault.

Also, comments about sex or gender also count as sexual harassment. A classic example is a coworker telling you to “get back to the kitchen” if you identify as female. These incidents occur every day all throughout the state. Being aware that it is sexual harassment means you can start to combat it.

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