What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment?

It is illegal for an employer, supervisor, or coworker to harass another employer because of their sex. It should be no surprise, then, that this is known as sexual harassment. While people may sometimes think of sexual harassment as something separate from discrimination, it’s actually a form of sex discrimination.

So, what really qualifies as sexual harassment? Chances are whatever the term immediate conjures is accurate, but it’s probably not the whole picture. Many types of behavior are sexual harassment but not all are physical and not all even require a specific target.

It’s worth noting here that sexual harassment can happen to anyone and be perpetrated by anyone – that means men can be victims of women and vice versa. Sexual harassment also occurs irrespective of sexual orientation – and even any sexual desire – so that means, quite literally, anyone at work may be able to engage in sexual harassment against anyone else.

This all, of course, begs the question at hand: What qualifies as sexual harassment?

Here is a rundown of some of the most common – and sometimes surprising – ways sexual harassment manifests in the work environment:

  • Repeated compliments about someone’s attractiveness or appearance
  • Comments to others about another employee’s attractiveness or appearance
  • Discussion about one’s sex life in the presence or one or more other employees
  • Inquiring someone about their sex life
  • Any kind of unwanted touching, even hugs or
  • Circulating or displaying any sexualized imagery in emails or around the office
  • Making jokes involving sexual content, are sexually offensive, or are sexist
  • Stalking a coworker in real life or on the Internet
  • Presenting a coworker with gifts of a romantic or sexual nature
  • Repeatedly requesting a date from a coworker
  • Requesting sexual favors in exchange for workplace incentives (quid pro quo)

While all of these behaviors are forms of sexual harassment, this is not a comprehensive list of what can be construed as sexual harassment. If you are or have experienced something similar to these behaviors, consult with an attorney who can provide you legal guidance.

At Limonjyan Law Group, we can help employees who believe they have experienced sexual harassment. Schedule a consultation with our attorney today to learn more about options you may have for taking action.

Get in touch with us today by calling (213) 277-7444 or by submitting an online contact form.