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What are some examples of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace may involve a wide range of unwanted behavior, from comments or advances to actual sexual assault or abuse. In addition to the target of the comments, advances or abuse, the harassment may also affect others who were not the intended targets of such behaviors.

Some common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Displaying inappropriate sexual images.
  • Telling lewd jokes.
  • Sending sexually suggestive notes, emails or letters.
  • Sharing pornographic videos with co-workers.
  • Making sexual comments about someone’s appearance or clothing.
  • Asking sexual questions.
  • Making comments about someone’s sexual orientation.
  • Staring in sexually suggestive manner or whistling at someone.

The actor’s intent is not the issue as to whether the behavior is deemed to be sexual harassment. The law imposes a “reasonable person” standard, which means if an ordinary reasonable, prudent person in a like or similar circumstance would find the behavior offensive, then it is sexual harassment.

Posted in: Employment Law FAQs