People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that sexual harassment in the workplace has to come as physical contact, or it somehow does not constitute harassment. They take other types of offenses far too lightly. In fact, this is sometimes why harassers continue their treatment of others, assuming that they can't get in too much trouble if they don't cross that line.
It is very important for employees to know that harassment absolutely does not have to be physical to count. It is still harassment. It can still create a hostile work environment. It can still violate your rights. Some examples of this type of harassment include:
- Leaving notes or letters with explicit content on someone's desk or in their office mailbox
- Sending someone explicit emails or text messages
- Repeatedly asking someone out or making comments about a potential sexual or romantic relationship
- Making sexual gestures or hand motions
- Sharing pictures or videos that are explicit; this can create a hostile environment even for workers who are not directly targeted
- Making inappropriate jokes; people often try to pass harassing comments off by saying they were "just joking" but this does not mean it wasn't harassment, even if true
If you feel uncomfortable, there is a chance your rights were violated. This is especially problematic if you point out how these actions make you feel, you ask others to stop, and they refuse to do so. People often feel like they get trapped in a toxic workplace where they never feel free to relax and just do their jobs. If this happens to you, you need to know all of the legal options you have.