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Subtle signs of sexual harassment in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Firm News |

Recognizing sexual harassment in the workplace is important for keeping a safe and respectful work environment in California. Some signs are easy to spot, but others are more subtle.

Inappropriate comments or jokes

Repeated inappropriate comments can become harassment. Key indicators include persistent jokes or comments about appearance, sexuality, or gender. Also, be on the lookout for unwanted compliments that make you uncomfortable. Even if presented as jokes, don’t overlook sexual innuendos or suggestive remarks.

Unwanted physical contact and attention

Unnecessary physical contact and unwanted attention can also signal harassment. This includes unnecessary touching, like placing a hand on someone’s shoulder or back, or standing too close. Sexual harassers may also send personal emails or messages outside of work hours, seeking out the harassed during breaks or after work. They may also give gifts or favors that make the recipient uncomfortable.

Impact on mental health

Subtle harassment can impact mental health. Signs include increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, changes in sleep patterns or eating habits, and a decline in overall job satisfaction and well-being.

Key indicators to watch for

There are some key indicators that a coworker may be experiencing subtle sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Avoiding certain colleagues or areas
  • Becoming more withdrawn or less engaged
  • Displaying stress or anxiety-related behaviors
  • Decline in mental health and job satisfaction

Fostering a positive workplace culture

Recognizing and addressing subtle signs of sexual harassment is important not only for the well-being of individual employees but also for creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture in California. By staying alert and proactive, everyone can help create a safe and respectful work environment.