Monthly Tips

June 2019

Not all Harassment is Sexual

Did you know there are two types of sexual harassment? Let’s start with a simplified breakdown:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment typically consists of someone in a power position seeking a sexual favor in return for a positive employment outcome.
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual, suggestive or sexually derogatory jokes, remarks or conduct interferes with an employee's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

But it's not quite that simple. See, sexually harassing conduct isn't necessarily motivated by sexual desire, nor is it always sexual in nature — it can include hostile behavior toward someone based on that person’s gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or childbirth and breastfeeding.

And wait, there's more: The sex of the harasser's and the victim don't matter; while most sexual harassment cases you hear about are men harassing women, women also have harassed men … or other women. And men have harassed other men. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct regardless of the harasser or victim’s gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.

But that’s not all.

There's also harassment based on protected categories, such as race, national origin, age, disability and religion, to name a few — and it, too, is prohibited.

What does all this boil down to? That anyone is capable of harassing anyone else in the workplace for a whole host of reasons — but that doesn’t mean they should.

So let's look at the takeaway here: We should all be respectful of one another, no matter our race, religion, sex, gender, etc. We're all human, after all, and #RespectWorks.


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