What is non-physical sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2021 | Sex Discrimination |

Harassment of employees is a huge issue at the modern workplace, despite multiple efforts to reduce it or eliminate it completely. There are many types of harassment on the rise as well, including sexual harassment.

But there is a specific type of sexual harassment that often gets overlooked. It is non-physical sexual harassment, and it plagues countless workers across the country.

Verbal sexual harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a look at sexual harassment at work. Most people think of physical assault and attack when they think of sexual harassment, but not all cases are physically brutal. In fact, some cases do not involve physical contact in any way.

These cases, colloquially dubbed as non-physical sexual harassment, instead involve verbal harassment. This is often just as difficult for the victim to handle and can have an equally toxic effect on the overall workplace environment.

Examples of non-physical sexual harassment

Some examples of this include coercion or threats that involve sexual acts or favors. For example, an employer might threaten to fire you if you do not perform a sexual act. On the other hand, they may offer you a promotion or hefty bonus for the same thing.

Rumors revolving around your sex life also count. This can include derogatory rumors about your physical body, your sexual history, and who you may or may not partner with among fellow employees. Lewd, crass and sexual comments directed at you can fall under this category too, but you do not need to hear the slander directly.

Finally, any remark that disparages your gender or sex can fall under this category. A popular example involves female workers hearing that they need to “get back in the kitchen”. If any of these issues escalate to the point that they interfere with your ability to do work, you may have yourself a case.


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