There are laws to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and protect those who report it, both on the federal and state levels. However, it remains among the most reported misconducts against workers in the workplace. Every year, thousands of workers, regardless of gender, report experiencing one form of it or another.
You might think you would immediately know if someone was committing this misconduct against you, but not all forms of sexual harassment are obvious. Some are more subtle than others. Here are some examples:
Comments about your looks
Some comments, disguised as compliments, may be a form of sexual harassment. If the statement is oddly specific, especially to a private body part, implies something sexual or makes you uncomfortable, it is likely inappropriate.
It is generally normal for a co-worker to try to ask you out if they find you attractive. But if, after you refuse, they continue to flirt or make advances to you, then that could be a form of sexual harassment.
You might joke about something sexual, especially with people you are close with. It usually becomes problematic when the jokes and innuendos make you feel uncomfortable or if they continue after you ask the other person to stop.
Your colleague does not have to touch you anywhere private for the interaction to be a form of sexual harassment. They might rub your arms, hair or other parts of your body or give you a massage you did not ask for.
As with jokes, you might not mind talking to a close friend about sex. But it might be sexual harassment if a colleague asks you about your sex life and make you uncomfortable. Similarly, it is often problematic when they talk about their sex habits and preferences when you did not even ask.
Sexual harassment is a terrible problem that usually requires a prompt solution. If you need guidance on how to protect your rights, it would help to seek legal assistance.