woman being sexually harassed by male employer

Common Examples of Workplace Sexual Harassment

By Tom McKinney
NJ Employment Attorney

Employees have a right to a safe and inclusive working environment. When people in New Jersey experience sexual harassment in the workplace, they have the right to pursue justice with the help of an employment law attorney. 

Workplace sexual harassment is a form of discrimination occurring when someone is subjected to unwanted sexual advances. Victims may also experience requests for sexual favors or other forms of sexual conduct that are unwelcome. 

Contexts and Outcomes of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender or orientation. It can involve a range of behaviors, contexts, and situations. If you believe you have suffered sexual harassment, it is important to know common examples of this type of discrimination. 

Sexual harassment can create a hostile, unpleasant, or offensive work environment. This type of discrimination can negatively impact the victim’s physical and mental health. 

Victims of sexual harassment may not perform as well in their vocational roles. Because of the serious potential harm, employers should take steps to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace.  

Businesses should help their workers to understand their rights and options for reporting harassment. It is vital to speak with an employment law attorney if you have been the victim of workplace harassment.

Common Kinds of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms. No matter the context, victims should know the most common types of sexual harassment.  

These include:

Verbal Harassment

When coworkers say inappropriate or sexual things in an unwanted or hostile way, this constitutes sexual harassment. Examples of verbal harassment include:  

  • Sexual comments
  • Inappropriate jokes
  • Unwanted compliments
  • Sexual propositions 

Verbal sexual harassment can make the victim feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or even frightened. No one should have to put up with this type of behavior in the workplace.

Physical Harassment

Any type of unwanted physical contact may constitute harassment or discrimination. The most common examples of physical harassment include unwanted or unwelcome: 

  • Touching 
  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Sexual violence or assault 

Blocking someone’s path or restricting their freedom of movement is also a form of physical harassment. Physical harassment in the workplace is illegal. It can have serious consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator.  

Employees have the right to a safe and respectful work environment. Because of this, companies have a responsibility to prevent and address physical harassment in all its forms.

Visual Harassment 

This type of harassment includes displaying sexually suggestive materials. Common examples include posters, calendars, and magazines. Sending inappropriate emails or messages may also constitute workplace harassment.

Quid Pro Quo 

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase translating to “something for something.” In the context of sexual misconduct, the phrase refers to a situation where someone in a position of power offers job advantages or opportunities in exchange for sexual favors. 

Quid pro quo sexual harassment can take many forms. A manager might offer a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual contact. A superior might threaten to fire or demote a worker if they do not engage in sexual activity. 

Quid pro quo sexual harassment can be subtle or overt, but it always involves coercion or pressure to engage in unwanted sexual activity. 

These common examples are not exhaustive. Sexual harassment can take a wide range of forms.  

Regardless of the type of harassment, it is always unacceptable. Victims of harassment should consult with a legal representative to discuss their options.

New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys

When you need the services of an employment law attorney in New Jersey, look no further than NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC. Our skilled team will review the facts of your sexual harassment claim and fight diligently for you. 

About the Author
Tom McKinney is a skilled employment law attorney with New Jersey Employment Lawyers LLC. He has a track record of success in all areas of employment law, including sexual harassment, discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower claims and hostile work environment claims. Besides litigation, Tom handles severance agreements and severance package reviews/negotiations for over 100 people each year. If you have any questions regarding this blog, contact Tom here.