Can you recognize the forms sexual harassment takes in the workplace?

Training your managers to recognize sexual harassment

Recognizing sexual harassment in the workplace as it occurs is a major factor in being able to eliminate it. Often, employers do not realize it is happening, which can make their business vulnerable to lawsuits.

In the State of New York, harassment no longer needs to be “severe or pervasive” to be illegal. The law considers offensive behavior that is beyond “petty slights or trivial inconveniences” to be harassment.

What type of behavior qualifies as sexual harassment?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment can take the form of the following:

  • Offensive jokes
  • Slurs
  • Epithets or name calling
  • Physical assaults or threats
  • Intimidation
  • Ridicule or mockery
  • Insults or put-downs
  • Offensive objects or pictures
  • Interference with work performance

Overt harassment can include sexual propositioning or physical touching and advances. However, with the internet and cell phones, sexual harassment also could take place outside of work through late-night texts that contain sexually suggestive images or unwelcome sexual comments.

What are examples of physical behavior that would be unlawful sexual harassment?

Unwanted physical behavior includes:

  • Touching
  • Pinching
  • Patting
  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Grabbing
  • Poking
  • Brushing against the person
  • Rape
  • Molestation

What are some examples of sexual harassment through verbal comments or gestures?

  • Requests for sexual favors while implying threats for not going along with it
  •  Repeated requests for dates or giving gifts
  •  Reoccurring romantic gestures or propositions
  •  Comments about the person’s sexual appearance, romantic history or sexual experience


As an employer, do you need legal assistance with sexual harassment in the workplace?

If you are a company owner and have questions or concerns about dealing with sexual harassment issues, an experienced employment law defense attorney can help. Whenever possible, it is wise to consult with a lawyer before legal issues arise. Call (718) 275-6500 to arrange an appointment with Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C.