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The 3 most common forms of workplace sexual harassment

Men and women alike can be victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. No matter where you work, you may have encountered harassing behaviors before. If so, you are familiar with the discomfort and anxiety that often results. According to the Huffington Post, as many as one in three women has experienced sexual harassment at work.

It is important to be aware of the different forms sexual harassment can take. These are just three of the most common manifestations you may find; sexual harassment certainly is not limited to these actions. If you have been a victim of any such abuses, you should seek recourse through human resources or legal representation.

1. Quid pro quo harassment

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase which translates to, “this for that.” Bargaining and negotiation are common in business, but sexual favors should never be part of the equation. Still, it is not uncommon for professionals in power to offer career incentives — promotions, raises and other opportunities — in exchange for sex. Even when not explicitly propositioned, any suggestion of such an exchange constitutes sexual harassment. 

2. Making unwelcome advances

Just as sex should not be sought in exchange for career opportunities, it should not be sought for inappropriate gratification either. Unwelcome advances are a common form of on-the-job harassment. Even if you simply ask a coworker on a date, the professional context can make it inappropriate. Pursuing romance and intimacy with uninterested colleagues can constitute sexual harassment.

3. Crude comments, jokes and insults

Many people in the workplace do not think that jokes and casual comments can be taken seriously enough to constitute harassment. On the contrary, it is often these interactions that provide the most obvious examples of inappropriate behavior. Making crude comments, jokes or even insults that are sexual in nature are acts of harassment against anybody who hears them.

Every situation is different. Concerned employees should report inappropriate behavior through internal and external channels.

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