What Constitutes Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Top Myths About Workplace Sexual Harassment Debunked

Despite growing efforts to educate everyone on workplace sexual harassment, many myths persist. Unfortunately, myths about sexual harassment can be harmful and damaging for individuals who experience harassment at work. Because of this, you need to understand the key facts about sexual harassment.

This article debunks some of the most prevalent myths about sexual harassment.

Myth #1: Workplace Sexual Harassment Only Involves Physical Touch

False: Sexual harassment can be both physical and non-physical. In fact, sexual harassment often takes the form of non-physical behavior. Below are some non-physical actions that constitute sexual harassment;

  • Name-calling
  • Lewd comments
  • Inappropriate jokes
  • Sexual facial expressions or gestures
  • Sexual text messages or emails

According to the EEOC, sexual harassment does not even have to be of a sexual nature. However, often, sexual harassment involves actions that are of a sexual nature.

Myth #2: Only Women Get Sexually Harassed

False: Both men and women can fall victim to workplace sexual harassment. In fact, anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity, can fall victim to sexual harassment. The reason people assume that men do not fall victim to sexual harassment could be because men are hesitant about reporting harassment. Men should know that the law protects them too and should not be hesitant about reporting cases of sexual harassment.

Myth #3: Companies are Not Responsible for Their Client’s or Customer’s Inappropriate Behavior

False: If a customer or client is sexually harassing an employee, it is the company’s duty to intervene. Therefore, whatever action an employer takes in the case of a client or customer who is sexually harassing an employee must not be to the employee’s disadvantage. For example, depending on the situation, your employer may be required to ban the offender from company property.

Myth #4: Remote Work Means Sexual Harassment Cannot Happen

False: Sexual harassment is possible even in a situation where two people have never worked in the same environment. As already mentioned, sexual harassment does not only involve physical touch. Suppose an employee who works in a different location makes offensive comments via calls or sends you unwelcome sexual text messages or emails. In that case, you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment. Additionally, quid pro quo sexual harassment, which is when a supervisor, manager, or authority figure offers or suggests that an employee will be given something, such as a promotion, in exchange for a sexual favor, can happen irrespective of an employee’s location.

Myth #5: Ignoring a Harasser Will Make Them Stop

False: Ignoring a harasser can lead to worse behavior and/or more victims. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is crucial that you make it clear to the harasser that you do not appreciate their behavior. It is also vital that you report the harassment.

Myth #6: Sexual Harassment is Driven by Sexual Desire

False: Indeed, sexual desire can drive someone’s offensive behavior. However, some people engage in sexual harassment to feel dominant or powerful over their victims.

Contact the Trabosh Law Firm

Contact the Trabosh Law Firm today for more information on sexual harassment and for a free case evaluation.