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Is sexual harassment always physical?

| Oct 1, 2020 | Firm News

Texas workers like you deserve to work in a safe environment free of harassment. While many workplaces promise a safe environment, not all of them actually manage to live up to their claims. 

To protect yourself at work and defend your rights to safety and health, you should understand what sexual harassment is. It is not just physical harassment, despite the amount of attention those cases get. In fact, many instances of sexual harassment do not involve the physical aspect at all. 

The prevalence of verbal sexual harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a look at sexual harassment at the workplace. Sexual harassment is often associated with physical assault. While this is a form of sexual harassment, it is not the only one, or even the most prevalent. Verbal sexual harassment is more common. This can include: 

  • Attempted coercion into sexual relations 
  • Bartering promotions, raises or other bonuses in exchange for sexual favors 
  • Threatening demotion or letting someone go if they do not perform sexual favors 
  • Making unwanted sexual advances 
  • Lewd remarks or rumors about another employee 

Harassment revolving around gender

Sexual harassment can also target a person’s sex without being sexual in nature. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive remarks about women on a whole. Making sexist jokes is an example of this. 

In order to be illegal, this behavior must be severe or frequent enough that it creates an offensive or hostile working environment. It is also illegal if it results in an employment decision that is adverse, like the termination of a contract or a demotion. If you have faced any of these things at your place of work, you may want to see what your legal options are.