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Workplace sexual harassment can be explicit or implicit

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Sexual Harassment |

Sexual harassment in the workplace can manifest in several ways. It can be explicit, such as when a colleague or supervisor makes unwanted sexual advances toward you, blatantly touches you or says sexually charged comments about you or your appearance. It does not even have to be an attempt to win you over. Sometimes people sexually harass others to belittle them and make them feel inferior. Explicit sexual harassment is easy to recognize. You know when it is happening to you.

By contrast, implicit sexual harassment is when an individual sexually harasses you suggestively or indirectly. They may make jokes or remarks that carry sexual undertones. They disguise the harassment through dark humor, errors on their part or even the misunderstanding and overreaction of the victim. Implicit sexual harassment is not so easy to detect, and victims might have difficulty reporting something they do not fully understand.

How to tell if you are facing sexual harassment in the workplace

Remarks or jokes about your sexuality or sexual orientation are sexual harassment. When people send you sexually suggestive images, videos or other graphic representations, that is sexual harassment too. Here are signs that can help you realize when you or someone in the workplace is experiencing sexual harassment:

  • You or the victim avoid certain people or a person in the workplace.
  • You or the victim feel uncomfortable in the workplace or whenever the harasser is close.
  • You or the victim is anxious and depressed because of the harassment.
  • Something about what the person said or did does not feel right.
  • You or the victim receive career promotions and opportunities by allowing the harassment and not standing up for yourself.
  • You or the victim have noticed a demotion or worse treatment because of turning down dates or other sexual advances.
  • You or the victim feel threatened in the workplace.

Sexual harassment fosters a hostile working environment. Your workplace should not make you feel scared, vulnerable or objectified. Sexual harassment is discrimination, and it is illegal in California.

Your employer should provide a safe working environment

Sexual harassment can cause serious mental and physical conditions and no employee should tolerate it. Your employer should provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, regardless of their position. They should have company policies against sexual harassment. If you experience sexual harassment or witness it, you can do something about it. You are not alone. All employees have a voice and a right to stand up for themselves.