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Can sexual harassment be subtle?

Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem both in and out of the workplace, but employees have a right to expect their workplace to be managed in a way that keeps them safe from harassment in any form.

While many people might automatically think of sexual harassment in terms of obvious incidents, such as sexual comments being made to a worker about their body or unwanted touching, there are also some very subtle forms of sexual harassment that must be considered. 

Subtle sexual harassment is common

Obvious sexual harassment, such as grabbing someone in a sexual manner or asking them for sexual favors, is easy to spot. The more subtle forms might be overlooked. In some cases, the harasser might think they’re not harassing the person, but if the remarks or actions make the victim feel uncomfortable, they must be stopped. 

Constant flirting or making sexually charged compliments are two ways that subtle sexual harassment can occur. Once the target makes it clear that they don’t want to participate in the flirting or that they don’t appreciate the compliments, they should cease. 

Sometimes, a person is stalked on social media. This could involve the harasser contacting them at odd hours or interacting with their social media posts in inappropriate manners. Contact that made regarding work should stick to work-related topics unless both parties are open to discussing other life points. 

Anyone who’s the victim of any type of sexual harassment at work, including the more subtle forms, should speak up. No worker should have to deal with that, and it’s illegal for it to happen. These workers have legal rights, including the right to take legal action. 

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