What is Sexual Harassment?

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What is Sexual Harassment?

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Posted By DAM Firm | September 27 2019 | Clergy Abuse, Workers Rights

In the wake of the #MeToo movement that has swept across the country over the last few years, many people have begun to understand that sexual harassment has been and still is a major problem in the U.S. workforce. It happens in every industry and at every income level – from the top to the bottom.

What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that sexual harassment can include “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
This is a major problem in the workplace. An NPR study has shown that 38% of women have reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. A survey by the EEOC shows that 74% of people think their employers take sexual harassment seriously.

Physical Harassment

Physical Harassment is what most people think of when they hear “sexual harassment” and can include:

  • Any unwanted touching of the body, clothing, or hair
  • Unwanted kissing, hugging, or stroking or the arms, back, etc.
  • Unwanted massages
  • Brushing against or standing too closely to someone

Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment covers comments made in the workplace about a person’s looks, discussion of sexual topics or activities, and calling people names like “sweetie,” “baby,” “sexy,” and more.

Non-Verbal Harassment

Non-verbal harassment is often a more passive form of sexual harassment. It can include things meant to intimidate a person such as blocking doorways, staring at a person, winking at them, and even making sexual gestures.

Threats or Requests

In some cases, supervisors make it known that sexual favors or “dates” are required for promotions, raises, etc. When refused, these are often followed with threats of job loss or demotion.

Most cases of sexual harassment in the workplace never get reported. This is because victims of harassment fear they will be retaliated against by their coworkers or supervisors. When we think of the big cases of sexual harassment in the news, it often involves celebrities or those who were able to find other jobs. However, the reality is that sexual harassment often affects those in low-income brackets who cannot easily switch jobs.

Sexual Harassment is Not Just a Workplace Problem

Though much of the focus of sexual harassment has been in the workplace, we want you to understand that it can happen in other places as well. Any time there is unwanted sexual behavior, whether physical or non-physical, it is sexual harassment. Any time the behaviors we discussed above involve a minor, it is wrong of likely illegal.

Coaches, teachers, volunteers, members of the clergy, and more can all be perpetrators of sexual harassment. You can, and should, report sexual harassment to supervisors or even law enforcement if necessary. When minors are concerned, abuse often starts out with verbal and non-physical grooming. This is harassment.

Perpetrators should accountable for their actions. Survivors should be able to live their lives and work without fear. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual harassment, you may be able to recover compensation. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Orange County.

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