Know your Rights:  Sexual Harassment at Work

(Last Updated On: June 7, 2017)


According to the law, sexual harassment at work or any other place is a form of unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. Any person that is a victim of sexual harassment should know its legal rights. Any unwelcome behavior that makes you uncomfortable and you want it to stop is harassment.

This can happened to anyone, people in any occupation and any age group. Unfortunately no one is save and this can cause some traumatic experiences.

Forms of sexual harassment at work

Harassment can take place in many forms, but in general we categorize those forms in 3 groups: verbal, non-verbal and physical.

  1. Verbal Harassment. Some might say that verbal harassment is not that serious, but it is. It can be hurtful, and it can affect the victim the same way as a physical and non verbal harassment. People usually make jokes on regular basis, and most of the times they cross the line so a victim can report it. The thing here is that sexual harassment can be conducted in a way that does not violate the law, like whistling or calling names, but it is still hurtful. The bad thing here is that the victim can have hard time proving that a certain incident happened if it does not have any written or recorded proof.
  2. Non-verbal harassment. This is another form of harassment that actually happens and it constitutes an inappropriate behavior from the harasser. This can be in a form of staring at someone`s body or making facial expressions in a sexual manner. Again if the victim feels uncomfortable this behavior should be reported.
  3. Physical harassment. Physical harassment is a behavior in which the victim is touched against its will. This can include massaging a person without asking for permission first, caressing a person` s arm or hugging them, just to name some, and the list goes on and on.

It is unacceptable that even in this age sexual harassment at work is a common occurrence. I would say, if you find yourself in a situation like this just speak up. Find a co-worker or a union representative for a moral support first. When a person has fallen a victim, most of the times they are not in their right mind. They can feel vulnerable and afraid that they might lose their job or even worse that no one would believe them. In my humble opinion, you should warn the harasser that you feel uncomfortable because of their behavior. And, in case the behavior continues take some legal action and file a complaint.

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Elena

Author: Elena

Freelancer, blogger and a world citizen.

34 Comments

  1. Divya

    April 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    We’re actually having a mandatory harassment training tomorrow about all this stuff. I haven’t experienced it firsthand, but I know several co-workers who have been affected by harassment at work – even when the intention wasn’t there – and so I understand the need to be trained on it annually!

  2. Breena Blake

    April 26, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    This information is very important to know! I hate the reality that women and sometimes men have to suffer from harassment.

  3. Moipone Islam

    April 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Very informative post and its things that everyone needs to know and protect themselves by collecting evidence.

  4. jessica lundy

    April 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    wow, thanks for sharing insight on such an important topic. It’s great to break it down into categories.

  5. Terri

    April 26, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I know many women still have to deal with this in the workplace. I was so lucky to be in a place where woman and their ideas were valued.

  6. Sarah

    April 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I know someone this happened too and of course, like you said, they were too scared to report it. This particular boss was known for playing favorites and making your work life awful if you crossed him. This is a good reminder, that sexual harassment is NOT okay.

  7. R.M.

    April 27, 2017 at 1:50 am

    This is a very helpful and informative post…..

  8. Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries

    April 27, 2017 at 2:04 am

    It’s always important to know what your legal rights are in situations like these. I work in a law firm and we always are trying to educate individuals of their rights and what legal recourse can be taken and in what situations. Very informative!

  9. Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland

    April 27, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Very informative. It’s so important for people to understand their rights and what constitutes harassment!

  10. Sincerely Ophelia

    April 27, 2017 at 3:22 am

    WOW. what a topic. I think this holds true. I know of cases like these… Thanks for sharing.

    XOXO

  11. Luna

    April 27, 2017 at 10:13 am

    What a good and important piece. Too often we let things go because we can’t prove it or don’t know what to do about it.

  12. Freya Farrington

    April 27, 2017 at 11:53 am

    As a business owner it’s very important to know where you stand and just as equally important is speaking up if you feel you may have experienced harassment

  13. roxy

    April 27, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    This is a really important topic, and there is so much confusion around it. I’m so glad you wrote this post with simple explanations to help clarify everything. Thank you.

  14. Roxy

    April 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve experienced this first hand and the worse part about it all is feeling like I can’t do anything about it. I work at a 7 person office with no formal HR department. It really makes coming to work a drag.

  15. Ant

    April 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Knowing your rights is a huge part of the battle. The other part is to make sure that you have a system in place that helps support you when going through a situation. If you don’t, lawyer up!

  16. Georgiana Quaint

    April 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    My company has quite strict codex on this, when I was reading it I was thinking to myself that even saying “hi!” might be considered harassment 😀 but no, in reality the coworkers are fine. Just makes me wondering what made the codex so extreme…

  17. five little doves

    April 27, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    It’s so sad that this is even an issue, and yet it is a very real one. Great post to raise awareness and advise those in this situation.

  18. Ali Rost

    April 27, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Such great information and important topic to be discussing. I know it happens a lot .. although thankfully I’ve never had to encounter it. I think about it too because there have been so many stories in the news about it lately.

  19. Ravi

    April 28, 2017 at 8:03 am

    This is a must know information. Most companies now a days provide a compulsory online tutorial for compliance.

  20. Nina

    April 29, 2017 at 12:53 am

    This for sure is something that should not be happening in 2017! Because it is, there is not a such thing as too much awareness.

  21. Noblandmakeup

    April 29, 2017 at 4:11 am

    It’s sad that in this day and age we need an article like this, but it’s true. No one, man or woman, deserves to feel unsafe at work because someone else likes to play power games.

  22. Raissa

    April 29, 2017 at 4:37 am

    This is an eye-opening and educational to working ladies. As women, we have to fight for our right on any matter may arise.

  23. Elizabeth O.

    April 29, 2017 at 5:28 am

    It’s amazing, how people would want evidence from you after being harassed one or a couple of times at work. Is it not enough that you’re bothered and that you’re trying to keep yourself safe? This is why it’s really important to look into your rights.

  24. Amanda Love

    April 29, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I think this is a topic that needs to be discussed. Knowing your rights will keep you out of danger and will also make you feel safer. Sexual harassment isn’t something that people should take lightly.

  25. Carol Cassara

    April 29, 2017 at 5:39 am

    I am so tired of hearing people talk about sexual harassment like it’s a lie when women or men come forward and ask for help regarding the matter. Knowing your rights means survival these days.

  26. Yeu Doi

    April 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for a great post. It’s great to empower people with information about their rights and responsibilities in this area.

  27. Laura H

    April 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

    So many women are afraid to speak out about this kind of thing so it’s great to spread awareness about what really is not ok.

  28. FS Page

    April 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I recently attended a seminar in my company titled – ‘Prevention for sexual harrassment’. One surprising thing that I came to know through this seminar was our company’s management gets complaints regarding sexual harassment as much from men they get from women. This is a very sensitive but highly insightful topic. Thanks for sharing.

  29. DR

    April 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Some of my dearest and best friends have previously suffered this form of harassment before, and they didn’t know their rights so it was fairly well left. She just ignored them, its a shame she hadn’t seen this article, as everyone should read it and be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities, to simply be in this modern age, human beings. Regardless of the seemably Victorian gender ideologies some work towards.

  30. Lindsey

    April 30, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I am so glad that I found this post! I recently encoutered someone that was giving me verbal harrassment and they thought it not, went in fact it truly is and can become quite abusive and hurful to someone.

  31. Nadine Cathleen

    May 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I never experienced it at work, thank goodness. But often when I went out with co-workers (mainly had male ones), after they had a few beers the subject of conversation often changed to sex and girls… (they were all mid 20s to mid 30s and I worked in finance). Sometimes it was quite hard to be part of that conversation … I was so thankful each time when there was another female co-worker!

  32. Ana Ojha

    May 1, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    It is important for everyone to set your boundaries at a workplace so that colleagues should understand their limitations! Harassment is a sensitive issue and the victim should take a stand!

  33. Jennifer L

    May 4, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Thank you for spreading light on sexual harassment at work. We need to make sure everyone knows about their rights when it comes to things like this.

  34. Bill Diven

    May 12, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Wonderful Blogpost thank you for sharing.

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