The 5 Most Common Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment

What constitutes sexual harassment at work? How is it different from other types of harassment? Sexual harassment in the workplace is considered discrimination since it includes uninvited comments, conduct, or behaviors based on a person’s gender, genital status, or sexual orientation.

The 5 Most Common Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is the most commonly reported form of harassment, but it’s not the only type. A person may be harassed if their actions interfere with their success or create a hostile work environment, for example, based on their race, age, gender, or skin color.

Can Anything Be Done About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

While companies implement sexual harassment training within the hiring process and beyond, many people are unclear on exactly what sexual harassment is when it occurs within the workplace environment. Making the distinction is important, especially when harassment needs to be reported.

Here are the top 5 most common types of sexual harassment that employees may encounter.

  1. Commenting on an individual’s appearance, clothing, or body parts in a sexual way.
  2. Share sexually explicit images or videos, such as pornographic material or inappropriate gifs, with coworkers.
  3. Pinching, rubbing, or purposefully brushing against someone in an inappropriate manner.
  4. Sexually questioning someone, such as inquiring about their sexual history or orientation.
  5. Sending letters, notes, or e-mails containing sexually suggestive content.

Other instances of sexual harassment

Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace, or sharing lewd, offensive jokes of a sexual nature are also considered harassment. Any unwanted advances, including comments or conversations of a suggestive or sexual nature, are also forms of sexual harassment in the workplace.

It’s important to note that the intended target of these advances isn’t the only victim; other employees experiencing and witnessing these types of activities can feel the brunt of a hostile work environment by proxy.

How Can You Determine Whether a Workplace is Hostile?

A hostile work environment is defined as any action or words with a sexual connotation that interferes with an employee’s ability to work or creates an uncomfortable atmosphere.

In the workplace, workplace incivility, behavior such as making racist or unfavorable remarks can be considered harassment, but not sexual harassment. Similarly, offensive gestures, drawings, or clothing can be regarded as harassment.

Handling Workplace Harassment

You can file a harassment claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you feel that you have been subjected to harassment at work, whether that harassment is sexual or non-sexual. Or you may consider hiring the best sexual assault victim lawyer NYC who is knowledgable in handling this case.

You must, however, be able to show that your employer attempted to correct the harassing behavior, and the harasser would not cease before you can successfully file such a claim.

Taking detailed notes of the dates, times, and nature of the incidents is important, as well as reporting the harassment to your employer’s human resources department. When you are unable to resolve the situation on your own, you may file a complaint with the EEOC by mail, in person, or by calling 800-669-4000 within 180 days.

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