The Basic Facts of Sexual Harassment

Written by on January 20, 2013 in Money - No comments | Print this page


sexual-harassment-imageWhile many advancements have been made in the field of gender equality, unfortunately, sexual harassment is something that occurs all too often in the workplace, regardless of whether you are a member of a white collar or blue collar profession. This is why there are a number of sexual harassment lawyers Los Angeles in California.

The legal definition of sexual harassment, as defined by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is thus:

“Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

Such conduct is morally wrong. It is illegal, and it should not be tolerated.

The Different Types of Sexual Harassment

  • Gender Harassment – This type of harassment involves making sexist statements and behaviors that are degrading to women.
  • Seductive Behavior – Involves unsolicited and offensive sexual advances.
  • Sexual Bribery – Can be either overt or subtle. The providing of sexual services is sought out in exchange for a reward.
  • Sexual Coercion – Involves the threatening punishment (i.e. negative performance reviews or termination) if sexual favors and services are not rendered.
  • Sexual Imposition – Is also defined as sexual assault and involves inappropriate and forceful touching or grabbing.

Of the five categories of sexual harassment, gender harassment is the most common, with seductive behavior coming in second. Sexual bribery and coercion are the ones we tend to hear about the most often on the news, but they are, in fact, fairly uncommon.

Recently established case law has also decreed that offensive visual displays of a sexual nature in the workplace also constitute sexual harassment. The most important characteristic of sexual harassment is that the behavior is unwanted and the actions are unwelcomed.

The Physical and Psychological Effects of Sexual Harassment

A woman, or man, who becomes the victim of sexual harassment can suffer from a number of negative physical and psychological effects. For example, a person who is harassed will often switch jobs or careers, as well as academic majors or educational programs. This can have a negative effect on their career goals.

Possible psychological reactions include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger and fear
  • Feelings of being betrayed, insecurity, or embarrassment
  • Low self-esteem or shame
  • Guilt and isolation

A person who has been sexually harassed at work is likely to feel increased feelings of dissatisfaction where their job is concerned. Because of the stress, it can lead to a drop in their performance on the job. It can lead to social withdrawal, and if the effects are severe enough, dismissal from their job.

What to Do If You Are Sexually Harassed

If you find yourself a victim of sexual harassment, the first step is to report it immediately to your supervisor, direct boss, and the head of your human resource department. If the situation is not adequately remedied, then your next step is to contact a sexual harassment lawyer Los Angeles.

Sexual harassment is something that should not be tolerated, and the most important thing to remember is that you are never to blame when it occurs.

This is a guest post.  Marcelo Diego of the Diefer Law Group, P.C. offers information on sexual harassment lawyers and employment lawyers in Los Angeles.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /


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