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What is non-physical sexual harassment?

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As a worker in California, you deserve a work environment where you feel protected and safe. Unfortunately, not every workplace provides that. You may find yourself the victim of harassment.

In particular, many workers suffer from sexual harassment. But did you know that sexual harassment does not only include physical assault? Some workers are sexually harassed and do not even know it.

Verbal sexual harassment at work

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses different types of sexual harassment. Physical sexual harassment often gets the most press. It is one of the most extreme types of harassment. This may involve inappropriate physical contact with someone else. It may include assault or worse. But this is not the only form sexual harassment takes.\

Types of non-physical sexual harassment

There is plenty of verbal sexual harassment, too. This can include catcalling. It can also include spreading salacious rumors about someone behind their back. Soliciting sexual favors also falls under this category. This is true even if the perpetrator is not “threatening” you in any way. But it also counts in situations where you see use of coercion or threats. Examples may include:

  • Offering a promotion in exchange for sexual acts
  • Promising bonuses
  • Promising other benefits inaccessible to average workers
  • Threatening to demote or fire someone
  • Threatening to report someone for sexual misconduct
  • Threatening to spread rumors of sexual misconduct through the workplace

Sexual harassment may also include comments that target you based on your gender. For example, someone may tell their female coworker to “get back to the kitchen”. This is a demeaning remark based on the coworker’s sexuality. Because of that, this comment is sexual harassment.