Harassment is an increasingly serious issue in California workplaces. As companies strive to make their workplaces safer and more inviting, many individuals might be wondering what constitutes harassment in different contexts.
What constitutes sexual harassment?
The image that comes to mind with sexual harassment in the workplace is a male coworker subjecting a female coworker to unwanted touching. But sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of rank or gender, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be physical.
Things that are communicated verbally or electronically to a coworker can also constitute sexual harassment. In general, if the message has sexual undertones and makes the receiver or surrounding coworkers uncomfortable, it is probably sexual harassment. It can come in the form of:
- Showing sexually inappropriate images or videos
- Sending suggestive texts, notes or emails
- Making inappropriate gestures
- Touching in any way that is inappropriate
Other types of harassment in the workplace
Sexual harassment isn’t the only kind of harassment that happens in the workplace. Unwanted behavior can also be centered around someone’s:
In general, things that openly mock or are meant to offend someone can constitute harassment. Things like inappropriate or offensive images, clothing that mocks a specific group of people or racially motivated jokes can all constitute harassment.
What to do if you are facing harassment in the workplace?
Most companies are dedicated to getting rid of harassment in the workplace and have channels for reporting such behavior. Going to your human resources representative and keeping a record of all the harassment that has happened to you should be the first step.