10 Signs You might be a Victim of Sexual Harassment at Work

posted by Daniel Stevens  |  Oct 16, 2018 12:55 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

10 Signs You might be a Victim of Sexual Harassment at Work


1.  You feel uncomfortable

Sexual harassment, to a degree, is measured subjectively and takes the expression “bad vibes” to a whole new level.  Although the workplace is to remain professional, unless you work from home, you are going to have social interaction with other coworkers, setting the scene for how most inappropriate behavior occurs.


While some inappropriate behavior in the workplace may be blatant, like a slap on the buttocks, other conduct may be subtler such as innuendos or sensual touching disguised as an accident. Keep in mind that even text messages or emails can be a mechanism for inflicting unwelcome sexual behavior.  Whether advances are obvious or indirect, the main issue is when they are unwanted.  So what if you are unsure?  One way to identify possible sexual harassment is to go with your gut.  Is the behavior toward you making you feel uncomfortable? When you do not want someone to make advances towards you, this is a feeling that indicates sexual harassment.


If you are uncertain, listen to the bells and whistles; let your natural discomfort be an initial guide.  Once you have acknowledged that you are not comfortable with behavior towards you by someone at the workplace, the next step would be to consult with an employment lawyer.  An employment lawyer will be able to gather the information you provide and decide whether you may be a victim of sexual harassment.



2.   You are experiencing unwanted physical contact

A common form of unwanted advances in the workplace is physical contact.  If someone at your work is touching you and it is unwelcomed touching, this may be a form of sexual harassment.  Some examples of physical contact may be rubbing shoulders, pushing up against another, leering, hugging, expressions of physical affection, using objects to touch another, or even using one’s body to block you from entering or exiting a room.   Even if the physical contact is marketed as accidental or harmless, within reason, you have the right to feel safe at work and free from unwelcome touching.


Again, if you are unsure, it is always best to speak with a legal professional who can appreciate the particulars of your situation and identify your rights in the circumstances.


3.  You are being treated differently based on your sex

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Another sign that you may be a victim of sexual harassment is if you are being treated a particular way because you are a man or because you are a woman.  This means that you, as an employee, may be singled out and treated in an adverse way based on your sex.  For instance, an employer or superior may only treat the female employees in a particular way or just the male employees in a particular way.  A comment may be made in regards to your sex “Hey, you’re a sexy woman, let a real man take you out”.


If you are being singled out, treated differently, the treatment has an adverse impact on you and the reason for the treatment is based on your sex, then this may be considered as sexual harassment.


4.  Saying “no” has no impact

It is technically not against the law to date at someone at work; it is not ideal but not necessarily illegal.  The law does get involved however when someone at work makes advances towards someone where it is not consensual.  In a situation where someone at work has made it known they are romantically interested in you but you have said “no” and yet they continue to pursue you, this may be considered as sexual harassment.


5.  You were asked for a sexual favor

Quid pro quo is a situation where your superior at work or in a position of power, offers employee benefits in exchange for sexual favors.  For example, your manager asked you out on a date and in exchange, he promised to give you a promotion.

Another form of quid pro quo is when this person in a position of power threatens to impose adverse action against you if you reject the request for the sexual favor.  An example of this would be if your supervisor gave you the ultimatum to go on a date with him or her, and should you refuse, you would be reprimanded.



6.  You feel bullied

Being bullied at work can revolve around behavior that is driven by romantic or sexual advances.  This type of work environment may be considered as a hostile work environment.  If you are being bullied into going on a date with someone at work, being teased about things concerning your body or sexuality or gender, chances are you may be considered a victim of sexual harassment. Being pressured or made to feel uncomfortable concerning matters of a sexual nature may qualify for legal action against an employer and should not be tolerated.


7.  You are being subjected to jokes or images of a sexual nature

Even if you are not being hit on or the object of someone’s affection, you may still be sexually harassed by images or pranks that are sexual.  Even emails, texts, videos, cartoons, are mechanisms considered to potentially deliver forms of sexual harassment to employees at the workplace.  It remains sexual pestering if an individual at work, whether it be a manager or another fellow employee, subjects you to sexual anecdotes or images.



8.  You are not the only victim

If other employees including yourself have been treated in a particular way that is of a sexual nature, chances are, you are indeed a victim of sexual harassment.  Establishing a pattern of sexual harassment amongst other employees, including yourself, may strengthen a sexual harassment claim.  By showing that other particular employees have been subjected to similar treatment, a victim-employee may be able to present supportive evidence in their own claim.


9.  You become a victim of revenge

Job security is an essential aspect of maintaining an employment position and if you have denied a superior’s advances at work, you may feel like your job is in jeopardy.

If you have rejected another employee or superior and they have punished you for that in the workplace, this may be considered a form of retaliation in addition to sexual harassment.



10.  You feel unsafe

Feeling unsafe in the workplace due to your environment that is of a sexual nature is a strong indicator that you are a victim of sexual harassment.


If you feel that you may be experiencing sexual harassment at work and need a consultation to know your rights, please contact a sexual harassment law firm, such as Stevens and McMillan.


Source: 10 Signs You might be a Victim of Sexual Harassment at Work

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