If you are faced with sexual harassment in your workplace, it is helpful to first know how to spot it and, secondly, to know what you can do about it. Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited and victims are protected.
Hostile workplace harassment
Sexual harassment is a type of sexual discrimination and when it takes place in the workplace setting, it violates the law. Sexual harassment does not have to involve sex and is generally unwelcome behavior that you experience because of your sex. Sexual harassment can include words alone and is not limited to unwanted physical contact. It can include, but is not limited to, sexual advances, lewd remarks, pornographic photos, sexual jokes or repeated requests for dates. This is commonly referred to as hostile workplace environment sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo harassment
There is also another type of prohibited workplace sexual harassment referred to as quid pro quo sexual harassment. It can also include when the unwanted sexual conduct impacts, directly or indirectly, the victim’s employment-related issues such as salary, promotions, work hours or termination. Sexual harassment is not limited to harassment from a supervisor but can also be illegal if the harasser is a co-worker, subordinate, customer or client. Sexual harassment does also not have to be opposite-sexed based.
There are several different routes that victims of sexual harassment can go to help end the harassment and ensure they are protected. It is helpful for you to be familiar with employment law resources and how they may be able to help you end the sexual harassment you are suffering in your workplace.