6 subtle signs of insidious sexual harassment in the office
- It's not always easy to discern innocent workplace behavior from sexual harassment.
- Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, but it doesn't always.
- Use these subtle signs to to discern exactly what qualifies as sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment, especially when it's happening to you or around you, isn't always so clear-cut and obvious.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
But it doesn't have to be of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can also include offensive remarks about a person's sex.
And for the harassment to be considered unlawful, it has to be so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or results in an adverse employment decision, like the victim being fired or demoted.
While these parameters are helpful, it can be difficult when you're in such a situation to discern exactly what qualifies as sexual harassment.
When an issue is taken to court, for example, some courts determined that something is harassment using the standard of what a "reasonable person" would consider unwelcome and sexual, whereas other courts have used the standard of what a "reasonable woman" considers harassing when the victim is female, ABC News reports.
By these standards, sexual harassment is very much in the eye of the beholder.
As Daley Haggar, a comedy writer in Los Angeles, recently wrote in Lenny Letter, "Being sexually harassed by a sitcom writer is like being sexually harassed by your gynecologist. It can be hard to tell if the guy's being a pervert or just doing his job."
Of course, it's not just comedy writers who have a hard time discerning innocent workplace behavior from sexual harassment. The signs can be subtle. Which is why we've compiled some below: