Types of Sexual Harassment

While many employers and employees believe sexual harassment examples consists of a direct proposition, such as, "If you want to keep your job, you will have sex with me." This is very far from the truth. Actually, the legal definition of sexual harassment consists of any sexual innuendo, joke, threat or other behavior that annoys, upsets or creates fear in anyone else present in the workplace. This is a very wide range of behaviors and many different actions can fall under the category of sexual harassment and law.

Being Romantic or Crossing the Line?

One type of law on sexual harassment exists when one individual continuously makes sexual or romantic advances toward another. While one advance may be considered acceptable, when more than one advance is directed at an individual (especially if he or she has made it clear that they are not interested), it crosses the line into sexual harassment. If this behavior bothers or upsets the recipient, there exists the means for a sexual harassment suit or complaint.

Name Calling or Sexual Harassment Case?

While many people would consider ‘name calling' an annoyance and childish behavior, most wouldn't think of this in connection with a sexual harassment legal lawsuit. The truth is that if an individual feels harassed by continued name calling or sexually demeaning nicknames, they have the basis for a sexual harassment case or complaint. Any nickname that is meant to be sexually suggestive, offensive or suggestive can be considered sexual harassment.

In actual cases of sexual harassment involving nicknames, many victims have suffered both physical and emotional problems arising from the harassment and some cases have ended in suicide or the need for hospitalization. What some consider a ‘harmless nickname' can be tragic and devastating to the victims of sexual harassment.

Sharing a Joke or Inviting a Lawsuit?

Along with sexual advances, nicknames, catcalls, whistles or other sexually suggestive behavior in the workplace – jokes and other behaviors can be considered sexual harassment as well. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive or crude jokes.
  • The showing of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, cartoons or drawings to an individual.
  • Making any sort of sexual gesture or movement.
  • Any sort of touching that the recipient feels is inappropriate, such as tickling, patting, rubbing, grabbing, squeezing, brushing or any other touching action.
  • Sexually-oriented insults, threats or coercions.

Any joke that is sexual or crude in nature can make an individual feel uncomfortable or harassed. Showing someone sexually suggestive pictures, cartoons, drawings or other representations can easily be considered sexual harassment. Motions or gestures which resemble sexually-oriented ideas or thoughts can be considered sexual harassment – especially when directed toward a particular individual.

Touching of any kind which makes the recipient feel uncomfortable can be considered sexual harassment at its worst and threats, insults or any other type of aggressive sexual behavior will almost certainly be considered sexual harassment. As employers recognize the need for both women and men to feel comfortable and safe at work, the consequences of sexual harassment become much stricter.

If you feel you may be the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, consult with an employment attorney to discuss the details of your case.

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