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The different forms of workplace sexual harassment

Sexual harassment does not belong in the workplace, or anywhere else. If you have been subjected to any form of harassment at work on the basis of your gender, you need to understand two things. First, you need to understand that you are not the problem. And, second, understand that the law is on your side.

Legally speaking, sexual harassment is a form of sexual abuse. Not only is it inappropriate, but sexual harassment is also unlawful and the perpetrator can be held liable at both civilly and criminally. Sexual harassment at work can be verbal, non-verbal or physical. Here is what you need to know about these three forms of sexual harassment:

Verbal harassment

Verbal sexual harassment refers to sexually-toned utterances that the targeted recipient considers offensive. If a workmate, employer or a customer is making sexually-suggestive remarks that are making you uncomfortable even after advising them to stop, then you might have a sexual harassment case against them. Some of these utterances may include requests for sexual favors, unsolicited sexual jokes, comments regarding your appearance or the use of sexually-explicit language.

Non-verbal harassment

Sexual harassment does not have to be verbal always. Sometimes, the perpetrator may take to electronic channels to execute their harassment. This may include sharing sexually-toned text messages, emails, photos or videos.

Non-verbal sexual harassment can also include indecent exposure or stalking.

Physical harassment

This is, perhaps, the most straightforward form of sexual harassment. Depending on the severity of the encounter, unwelcome physical contact may amount to sexual harassment or assault. Physical forms of sexual harassment may include suggestive touches such as patting, groping, forced kissing or prolonged hugging.

Everyone deserves to work in a safe and enjoyable workplace. Find out how you can protect your rights and fight for justice if you are sexually harassed at work.


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