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Subtle forms of sexual harassment at work

All employees should feel safe while at work. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is alive and well, creating negative work spaces all the time. According to PEW, over 38 percent of women reported being sexually harassed at work.

But people do not see their coworkers grouping each other or making sexual comments all the time, do they? Does that mean that these numbers are incorrect?

No, in fact, many forms of sexual harassment are subtle and more discrete. Not all types of harassment are clear and easily spotted, but all are intolerable and inappropriate.

Less obvious forms of sexual harassment

While grouping and sexual propositions are clearly forms of harassment, there are many other types of behavior that also fall under the broad umbrella of sexual harassment. Some of these more subtle actions include:

  • Following someone around frequently at work
  • Making sexual jokes
  • Inappropriate or sexually charged and unwanted compliments about someone’s body or clothing
  • Sending inappropriate texts or emails
  • Repeatedly asking someone on a date, despite their rejection
  • Asking about someone’s sexual past or fantasies
  • Unwanted touching such as hugging, patting or brushing up against someone
  • Invading space or blocking someone’s path

These are all different examples of sexual harassment that can occur at work. You may have experienced some of these actions and while they made you uncomfortable, you might not realize they qualify as sexual harassment.

What should you do?

If you have been subjected to any of these actions, or others, you may want to take action. There are steps you can take to stand up for yourself and create a safer work environment for everyone.

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