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What are the signs of sexual harassment at work?

Despite numerous advocacies and awareness campaigns, sexual harassment is still a problem in most workplaces. If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, you need to take steps to safeguard your rights.

Sometimes, sexual harassment can be quite difficult to spot from the onset. What seems like a harmless tap on the shoulder can gradually escalate into something dangerous over time. That said, here are two signs you need to look out for if you suspect sexual harassment at work.

Unwarranted attention or physical contact

Unwarranted touch can be a sign of sexual harassment. These can include inappropriate touch on the sexual parts of the body such as the crotch or butt.

Other scenarios of unwarranted attention that may amount to sexual harassment at work include:

  • Starring at your body in a suggestive manner that leaves you uncomfortable
  • Making sexual remarks regarding your looks
  • Getting uncomfortably close or making sexual suggestions
  • Persistently demanding to meet with you alone for non-work-related endeavors

Promising work-related favors in return for sexual relations

Also known as quid pro quo or  “something in return for something else,” this form of sexual harassment happens when someone in a position of power (like the employer or supervisor) demands sexual relations in return for specific favors at work.

These unwelcome sexual advances can range from demanding dates to physical intimacy in return for a pay rise, a job promotion or a favorable appraisal. Sometimes, the offending party may demand “payback” after doing a “favor” to the employee. An example would be a situation where an employer pays for your vacation with the expectation of sexual relations in return.

Sexual harassment in the workplace creates a hostile work environment for everyone affected. Find out how you can pursue justice if you are sexually harassed at work.


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