Many people can identify behaviors like unwanted physical touch or sexual advances as sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment is not always physical, and even smaller comments could significantly impact your comfort in your workplace and your ability to do your job. When might a comment count as sexual harassment? Comments must be “severe” or “pervasive.”
What types of comments might be sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment includes many different behaviors, all of which can contribute to a toxic work environment or otherwise impact a person’s career. In addition to sexual advances or inappropriate touching, sexual harassment may include:
- Making inappropriate comments about your physical appearance, including compliments
- Sharing inappropriate sexual jokes, even if those jokes are not specifically aimed at you
- Discussing one’s own sex life in front of others
- Gossiping about your relationships or sex life or starting rumors of a sexual nature
- Making offensive comments about a person’s gender or sexual orientation
- Asking inappropriate questions about your sex life or history
Even if these comments seem subtle, they can have a significant emotional impact on employees. When these comments become a pattern, they can make every day at work a struggle for the people impacted by them.
What can you do if you aren’t sure if it was harassment?
Sexual harassment can be subtle but should not be ignored. If you have struggled with inappropriate comments in your workplace, you may want to reach out for legal guidance. With help, you can identify inappropriate comments, create a record of your experiences and take the right steps to protect your career and your wellbeing in the workplace. Often Cross Law Firm is able to intervene and stop the conduct so that the employee may focus on work—a win-win for both the employer and the employee.