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Was that sexual harassment?

While it may be hard to believe, many women experience sexual harassment while at work even if they do not realize it.

According to a 2018 study, over 80 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their life. It makes sense that many of these instances occurred in the workplace. Not all instances of sexual harassment are as easy to define. For example, an individual groping a fellow employee is a clear example of harassment, but being called a rude name may leave someone wondering “was that sexual harassment?”

Types of sexual harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that there are two main types of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.” What is the difference between the two?

  • Quid pro quo: In the work environment, “quid pro quo” means that an employee may feel trapped into complying to sexual advances from a coworker or supervisor in order to keep their job or secure a promotion.
  • Hostile work environment: This includes anything that makes a working environment unworkable. For example, repetitive name-calling, posting of lewd images, as well as threats or incidents of actual assault.

What to do if it is happening

If you have or are experiencing one of the above types of harassment, it is serious. Workplace harassment is illegal and those who are responsible for this type of misconduct should be held accountable. Seeking legal assistance is not out of the realm of possibility, especially if you can prove that the harassment is occurring.

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