Workplace harassment comes in many different forms. Physical sexual assault and harassment often gets a lot of the attention due to its blatant and aggressive nature. But there are other forms of sexual harassment, too.
Are you protected from these forms of harassment at work? Just how vast are protections from harassment, anyway?
Threats and bribes
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission looks into sexual harassment at the workplace. They state that it is unlawful to harass a person based on their sex. This includes physical assault and sexual harassment, but it also encompasses nonphysical sexual harassment.
For example, an employer could threaten you with demotion if you do not perform sexual acts. On the flip side, they could promise raises or other benefits if you perform these acts. This is a form of harassment.
Vulgar speech and spreading rumors
Talking about you in a vulgar or sexual way behind your back also falls under this umbrella. This can include spreading personal information or even spreading false rumors. If these rumors disrupt the workplace and make you feel unsafe, then it is a form of harassment.
Even comments about your sex that are not sexual in nature count. For example, a male coworker may tell a female coworker to “make him a sandwich”. This inherently sexist remark counts as harassment. But note that any gender and sex can suffer from sexual harassment at the workplace, though women tend to have a high rate of getting targeted.
If you experience sexual harassment at the workplace, consider speaking with a legal expert. They can tell you what your options are if you wish to seek compensation.