Due to high-profile cases in the news, many people know about issues with physical sexual harassment when they occur in the workplace.
But did you know that sexual harassment occurs in non-physical forms, too? In fact, some studies show that the majority of sexual harassment may take place in this way, but the report level is even lower than reporting physical harassment.
Coercion and threats
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment still plagues many workplaces across the country. Non-physical sexual harassment often runs rampant.
But what exactly is this? One example includes threats or coercion without a sexual, physical act. For example, a manager may try to threaten or coerce someone into doing a sexual favor for them. Even if this favor never happens, the threat or coercion counts as sexual harassment.
Another example involves malicious rumors. If rumors based on someone’s sexuality, gender or sexual life start maliciously spreading in the workplace and hamper a worker’s ability to do their job, this also counts as sexual harassment.
As mentioned, even comments based on gender that do not involve sex or sexuality at all can count as sexual harassment. This includes disparaging remarks such as a male co-worker telling his female colleague to “get back in the kitchen”. This goes for both men and women.
Any of these acts constitute sexual harassment. If you face such acts, then you can take the appropriate actions to file complaints with Human Resources and ensure that the harassment stops and your workplace returns to an area you feel comfortable working from.