What is non-physical sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2021 | Sex Discrimination |

Sexual harassment at the workplace is a huge issue that many workers face across the state. There are different types of sexual harassment, too. Physical sexual harassment often gets the spotlight due to its extreme nature.

But did you know there are forms of non-physical sexual harassment, too? These forms often go overlooked, leading to even more grief and suffering on the part of the victim.

Circulation of rumors

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission puts out notice about sexual harassment at the workplace. This includes non-physical sexual harassment. But what is this? It is sexual harassment that is entirely verbal and does not involve physical assault or contact.

For example, a coworker may circulate rumors about your sex life. This counts as non-physical sexual harassment. So do attempts at making trades or bargains for sexual favors. Examples include a manager offering a promotion, bonus or raise in exchange for sexual contact. It also applies to threats that attempt to reach the same goal, such as threatening demotion if you do not perform a sexual act.

Non-sexual comments about sex and gender

An interesting note is that the verbal content does not have to be sexual in nature to count as non-physical sexual harassment. For example, you cannot make derogatory statements based on a person’s physical sex. An example may involve a coworker telling their female peer to “get back in the kitchen”, or asking why she is working when she “should be at home”. Of course, this goes for comments directed at either sex.

If facing off against non-physical sexual harassment, you can still take action to protect yourself. You can even seek compensation for the trouble you went through.


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