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What constitutes sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Sexual Harassment

As an employee, you should not dread going to work because of a hostile environment. No person should face discrimination of any form, including harassment based on sex or gender.

Sexual harassment should be unacceptable in the workplace, but to report it, you must understand its various forms.

Unwelcome advances

Most people understand that unwelcome advances are part of sexual harassment. Unwelcome advances can include an insistence on asking you on a date, requesting sexual favors or engaging in physical or verbal harassment. Unwelcome advances can also include uncomfortable conversations about sex or sexual gestures. The harassment can continue outside of the workplace too. For example, coworkers sending you unwanted sexual texts or emails constitutes harassment.

Sex-based discrimination

Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based discrimination. No one can treat you differently because of your sex or gender. For example, if your boss consistently makes jokes about you related to your gender or sex, you may have a case against him or her for sexual harassment.

Hostile teasing

There is a difference between light teasing and hostile teasing. For example, if you have a colleague who made an uncharacteristically vulgar or inappropriate joke, you may not be able to claim sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurs consistently and so often that the work environment becomes hostile. Teasing becomes hostile when it becomes consistent. You may fear going to work or engaging with the person responsible for the jokes.

Offhanded comments and isolated jokes do not constitute harassment. Harassment is serious and can interfere with your ability to work.