While strides in recent years have helped bring awareness to issues of sexual harassment at workplaces, there is still a lot of work that must happen. One thing to work on is the awareness of different types of sexual harassment.
Due to the prominence of the cases involving physical sexual harassment, this gets the most attention. However, there are forms of sexual harassment that do not involve any physical contact at all, and this is just as serious.
Threats or bribes for sexual favors
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses all forms of sexual harassment at the workplace. Non-physical sexual harassment is sexual harassment that does not involve physical contact, which is typically associated with this issue.
It can consist of threats or bribes for sexual favors, usually from an authority figure. For example, a manager may try to bribe a worker with promises of raises or a new, more favorable position if they perform a sexual act. On the flip side of the coin, a manager may threaten a worker, stating that they will fire, demote or otherwise throttle the growth of an employee who refuses to engage in sexual acts.
Rumors and derogatory stereotyping
Non-physical sexual harassment can also include defamatory and/or salacious rumors about an employee’s sex life, sexuality, gender or other personal details and private information. Finally, this form of harassment can also target someone for their gender, evoking harmful and derogatory stereotypes in order to hurt an employee or make them uncomfortable.
Specifically, these forms of sexual harassment must present a significant disruption to the employee’s ability to work along with altering the work environment. If it falls under this category, it is harassment and victims can take action.