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Work Sexual Harassment: Trust Your Feelings

Work Sexual Harassment: Trust Your Feelings - A wooden gavel centered on a dark background with grain.

Employment Litigation Lawyer

It can be challenging to determine whether you or another person at your job may be a victim of sexual harassment. The signs of workplace harassment may not be directly obvious, and can take on many forms, such as overt behaviors or subtle unwanted sexual advances, unwanted touching, requests for sexual favors, and verbal harassment. Harassment can entail behavior that is not as obvious, such as offensive comments regarding your gender or identity. As a Washington, D.C. employment litigation lawyer from Eric Siegel Law explains, here are just a few signs that you may be the victim of workplace sexual harassment and taking action immediately is warranted.

Uncomfortable Feelings

Sexual harassment is often measured in feelings of discomfort, as it can be subjective. Inappropriate conduct can be subtle and include things like innuendos, light unwanted touching, or other conduct that is disguised as an accident when it was actually intentional. Offenders may also utilize online contact to harass their coworkers further. it doesn’t matter whether the behavior is covert or overt, the main issue is whether it is unwanted. To assess whether a co-worker or manager’s behavior may have a sexual tone to it is to just trust yourself and the immediate feelings that you get from the interaction. If you have discomfort because of the way the behavior or comments are being directed towards you, it could indicate that you are being sexually harassed.

Unwanted Physical Interaction

Some offenders of sexual harassment use unwanted touching as a way to target their victims. For instance, a co-worker may brush up against you and apologize quickly, but it seems like they have a habit of doing this over and over again. The offender may also hug you, rub your shoulders, stare, or use their body to block you from leaving a room. Even if your coworker tries to make the unwanted touching seem like a harmless interaction or accident, you have the right to be free from unwanted behaviors like these while at work.

Sexual Favor Requests

Another type of sexual harassment happens when someone who was in a position of authority requests that an employee engages in sexual favors and in return will avoid a negative job action or be considered for a job benefit. Specifically, this is called a “quid pro quo”, which is when someone asks you to partake in sexual interactions while at the same time threatening to demote or fire you if you turn them down. Quid pro quo harassment can also entail offering a promotion in exchange for sexual favors. If your supervisor or other person of authority over you at work uses a possible promotion as a way to encourage you to go out on a date with them, this would be considered a quid pro quo situation.


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