Workplace sexual harassment is widespread. Despite hitting the news in recent years there is a lot of work still needed to eradicate it. The best way to continue to fight sexual harassment in the workplace is to be aware of what forms it can take. Then when it does occur, you need to call it out. Everyone has the right to a safe workplace environment. 

What is sexual harassment?

Asking for sexual favors or making unwelcome sexual advances counts as sexual harassment in the eyes of The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. So does “conduct of a sexual nature.” Here are some things you may be surprised to learn about sexual harassment:

  • It is not just men who do it: Anyone can sexually harass anyone; gender and sexual persuasion are irrelevant.
  • It is not just bosses that do it: If it is taking place in your workplace it counts. The perpetrator does not even need to work for the company.
  • It can be verbal or physical: Words, gestures, actions, memos, emails or pictures can all count.
  • It does not have to happen to you directly: The perpetrator does not need to be doing something to you directly. They may be doing it to someone else, or even to no one in particular, but if you feel affected by it you can claim for sexual harassment.

If you do experience sexual harassment, don’t keep quiet about it. If you speak up for yourself, you might also be speaking up for others who are too afraid to do so.