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Is reputation tarnishing part of sexual harassment?

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In recent years, employers and employees alike have made a notable and concerted push to eliminate all forms of sexual harassment from the workplace. While this has improved the situation for many, sexual harassment is still a major issue even today.

This is partly because sexual harassment comes in many different forms, some of which do not get nearly as much media attention. This can include the tarnishing of a worker’s reputation.

A negative impact on the work environment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission examines all aspects of sexual harassment in the current workplace. Most of the highest-profile cases that capture media attention involve sexual assault, violence or abuse. While this remains an issue in workplaces across the nation, it is not the only way that sexual harassment manifests.

In essence, for something to constitute sexual harassment, it needs to have a negative impact on the victim’s ability to work. This includes creating a toxic or negative work environment that interferes with productivity or the victim’s ability to feel safe.

Sexual harassment and reputation

To that end, tarnishing a victim’s reputation can easily constitute as sexual harassment. This often occurs when coworkers of a victim discuss their love or sexual life behind their back or even in their presence, often with an emphasis on shaming them for their supposed choices. This can make it hard for victims to integrate into the workplace and can leave them feeling ostracized and targeted or bullied.

Spreading salacious rumors also falls into this category and can even lead to slander claims brought against the perpetrators in situations where the rumors are untrue but have damaged the victim’s reputation anyway. In many of these cases, victims will go on to collect damages for the difficulties their workplace forced them through.