What are the different types of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be detrimental to the victim’s work and livelihood, which is why victims of sexual harassment may wonder what types of sexually harassment are legally recognized. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual harassment; requests to perform sexual favors; and physical and verbal harassment that is sexual in nature.

Harassment can be aimed at both men and women and does not have to be sexual in nature; sexual harassment can also occur when comments are made, for instance, about a woman’s sex, such as offensive comments about women generally. Sexual harassment that requires something in exchange from the employee, or provides that the supervisor will refrain from some activity in exchange for sexual favors, is prohibited, as is persistent sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment that is considered so frequent and severe that it creates a hostile work environment is prohibited and victims of a hostile work environment may have options through the legal process. Additionally, sexual harassment that results in an adverse action being taken against the employee, such as hiring, firing, demotion or a denial of a promotion, may also be considered prohibited sexual harassment and victims may also have legal remedies available to them in those circumstances.

Sexual harassment can involve a supervisor, co-worker or a non-employee and can be devastating to victims. Because of the serious nature of sexual harassment, it is taken seriously and victims in San Diego and throughout California should be familiar with the legal resources available to protect them.

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Sexual Harassment,” Accessed April 1, 2018

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