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Does sexual harassment always involve physicality?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2022 | Blog, Sexual Harassment

These days, sexual harassment cases tend to get a lot of news coverage. However, most of these cases have a high sensationalist profile and often involve physical contact or assault.

Despite this, many instances of sexual harassment in the workplace actually do not involve assault or even physical contact in the first place. So what do these other instances of harassment look like?

Indecent exposure and derogatory remarks

OSHA Safety Manuals discusses sexual harassment that may impact workers. Sexual harassment can involve many different – and potentially surprising – actions. For example, derogatory comments based on someone’s sex or gender can count, even if the comments had nothing to do with sex or sexual acts.

Indecent exposure also makes up a large chunk of sexual harassment cases. For example, a worker may expose him or herself to a victim in person. These days, many of these cases happen virtually, with the harasser sending unsolicited photos of himself or herself via email, chat or other avenues of communication.

Gossip, coercion, threats

Malicious gossip and rumors can also count as sexual harassment. This can include discussing someone’s sex life or sexual partners openly or behind a victim’s back.

Of course, coercion and/or threats count as sexual harassment, too. A harasser may give a worker an ultimatum, requesting sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or threatening a demotion if a worker does not provide such services. This counts as harassment even if no sexual acts happened.

Though these experiences are difficult to go through, workers who suffered through such treatment can seek compensation for the damages they experienced as a result of it.

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