Workplace sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or unwanted verbal or physical contact that’s sexual in nature and can negatively affect the victim’s employment status or quality of life.
This covers a wide range of activities and behaviors such as:
- Sexual favors
- Sexually-charged banter
- Comments or innuendos
- Completed or attempted nonconsensual sex acts
- Abusive sexual contact
- Threats of sexual violence
- Uncomfortable sexual jokes
The signs that you’re experiencing workplace sexual harassment include being surrounded by sexually-charged images and language, such as suggestive photos and frequent usage of innuendos in any kind of conversation.
Another sign is discomfort due to the behavior of others. Even if their behavior isn’t directed towards you, the regular use of sexual slurs and insults, as well as gestures, comments, or actions can make you feel uneasy and dread coming into contact with them.
You may also be receiving unwanted sexual advances, sometimes bundled with promises or threats. For example, you could be being offered a big promotion should you agree to go on a date with a superior. Finally, you may be experiencing workplace sexual harassment if you receive punishment or retaliation after filing a formal complaint.
Here is an infographic with statistics and facts illustrating several different examples of sexual harassment, how this can happen and the steps you should take.