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What is workplace sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Employment Law |

In recent days, employers and workplaces across the board have attempted to make improvements on the work environments that their employees must experience. Public outrage against sexual harassment cases in particular have reached a high, creating backlash against companies that do not appropriately handle such incidents.

It is important to understand what workplace sexual harassment is in the first place. This way, quick action can take place in order to handle any situations involving this problem.

Physical sexual harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses sexual harassment at work. It is possible to break this issue down into two major categories: physical and non-physical sexual harassment.

Physical sexual harassment often gets the most press and attention in the media. This involves physical assault ranging from inappropriate contact to groping to more aggressive forms of sexual assault. In this case, the perpetrators can face additional penalties due to the severity of their crimes.

Non-physical sexual harassment

Non-physical sexual harassment can involve several things. First, a perpetrator may use threats or coercion in an attempt to gain sexual favors. For example, they may promise a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual acts, or they may threaten demotion if the victim refuses to participate.

This category also includes salacious and malicious rumors revolving around a victim’s sexuality, sex life, gender and so on. Along the same lines, derogatory comments based on a victim’s gender can also count, such as derogatory comments about a woman in the workplace.

To pursue damages, these behaviors must create significant changes in the workplace and make it hard or impossible for the victim to continue working. At this point, it is possible to take legal action.