top of page

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Recognizing and Addressing Unwanted Advances and Behavior

No one should have to experience sexual harassment at work, yet it’s a problem that continues in offices around the country. Employers and workers alike should understand how to recognize harassing behavior and what to do about it.

woman contemplating at work

Recognizing Sexual Harassment

There are two kinds of workplace sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo harassment: This involves a “do this and receive that” scenario. For example, a boss who asks for sexual favors from an employee in exchange for a promotion has committed this type of harassment.

  • Hostile work environment: This is a repetitive behavior that can make someone feel intimidated or emotionally distressed at work. Work environments can become hostile under many circumstances, such as when there are inappropriate sexual jokes, sexual innuendo, touching, sexual comments, and many other offensive acts.

Male, female and transgender employees can be victims of sexual harassment, and anyone can be a harasser. Harassment is unlawful if