The different types of sexual harassment in the workplace, explained

sexual harassment

Millions of people are affected by sexual harassment yearly. This is a major problem for both individuals and employers.

And sexual harassment isn’t a monolith. There is more than one type of sexual harassment you can be subject to in the workplace.

Let’s go through the different types of sexual harassment you should be looking out for.

Physical Harassment

The easiest form of workplace sexual harassment to recognize is physical harassment. This is harassment where someone touches you in a sexual manner against your will.

This can include things you might feel could be an accident once, like touching on the back. They can include more significant touching, like grabbing inappropriately. It can also include criminal acts, such as sexual assault.

Sexual harassment training can help educate employees about the types of sexual harassment. This can prevent these issues from occurring. And, it helps keep employees feeling safe and working efficiently.

Verbal Harassment

Being harassed verbally is also a form of sexual harassment. This could include sexual comments about your physical appearance. Or joking (and not so joking) comments about sexual situations can be seen as harassment. It can also include sexual jokes that are inappropriate for workplace situations.

All forms of sexual harassment are sexual harassment whether they are done by a superior, like a supervisor, an equal, or a subordinate. But, some forms, like requesting sexual favors, are more significant when conducted by a superior. That’s because people may feel more pressured not to report the harassment.

Other examples of workplace sexual harassment include jokes based on sexual orientation, unwanted gestures of affection, asking intrusive and unwanted sexual questions, and many other things that may make an individual uncomfortable.

Unwanted Media

Being exposed to unwanted media of a sexual nature in the workplace is a form of sexual harassment. Unwanted media can include being sent unsolicited photos of a sexual nature.

Another example of being exposed to unwanted media is someone playing a sexually-explicit video publicly in the workplace without the consent of other employees. Everyone should be comfortable with any media publicly playing in the office.

Gender Discrimination

Discrimination based on your gender can also be a form of sexual harassment. These forms of discrimination can include punishment in the workplace. It can also include career ramifications based on a person’s gender.

This could include making advancements in the workplace contingent on sexual favors. Or, it could include having to behave in different ways in order to not be excluded based on your sex or gender.

For example, having to dress in more revealing ways to not be ostracized by superiors or reprimanded is a form of sexual harassment.

According to the women workplace statistics, women are usually the victim of this gender sexual harassment in the workplace. Thankfully, with the help of the #metoo movement campaign, 34% of women now believe that things improve in the workplace for them. The #MeToo movement is a social campaign against sexual abuse and harassment specifically aimed at alleged male perpetrators in positions of power.

Now You Know the Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Now that you’re aware of the different forms of sexual harassment that can affect you, you can protect yourself and others from harassment.

Do you want to make sure that your employees know what constitutes sexual harassment? Visit for their different workplace training courses.