You may think you will always recognize sexual harassment in your workplace. Sexual harassment can look different depending on the situation, though, and it is important to recognize the different forms it can take.
Sexual harassment can sometimes include physical actions. According to Equal Rights Advocates, people might sexually harass you by kissing or touching you without permission. They may also make inappropriate gestures. In some situations, people might keep you from leaving a room or they may ask you to exchange sexual favors. However, sexual harassment is not always physical.
What does sexual harassment look like?
Sometimes you may experience verbal sexual harassment. Someone might make sexual jokes that make you feel uncomfortable. People may also discuss your physical appearance. Additionally, people may harass you by sending you suggestive emails or text messages. You may think you are not experiencing sexual harassment if you did not object to the behavior or language. However, harassment takes place if you feel like you cannot say anything.
Who commits sexual harassment?
You may expect a company supervisor to harass you. However, anyone at your workplace might use this kind of behavior. Your colleagues may say or do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you may have a customer who always makes inappropriate comments or gestures.
How should you handle sexual harassment?
If you think you are experiencing harassment at work, you should take action. Under California law, it is illegal for companies to allow sexual harassment to take place. You have protection even if you are an intern or an independent contractor. You should usually report the situation to your supervisor or your company’s human resources department so they can begin an investigation.