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What constitutes sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2021 | Workplace Harassment

One of the reasons why fewer workers report sexual harassment than they probably should is because many people aren’t entirely clear about what qualifies as sexual harassment in the first place.

Understanding what constitutes workplace sexual harassment can help you take a proactive approach to any problems you encounter.

What is the difference between sexual and non-sexual harassment?

Any discrimination explicitly based on a person’s religion, gender, race, ethnicity, age, skin color or sexual orientation that does not have sexual undertones may fall into the category of ordinary harassment. 

Any unwelcome comments or conduct, language or behaviors related to a person’s sexual orientation, gender or sex may constitute sexual harassment. Any instance in which you’re on the receiving end of lewd jokes, sexually charged remarks about your clothing, notes or emails that are sexually explicit or pornography at work may constitute sexual harassment as well.

Both types of harassment described above can give way to a hostile work environment that affects a person’s ability to perform their job. 

Some people make the mistake of assuming that sexual harassment only can come at the hands of colleagues. That’s not the case, though. Sexual harassment can come from various sources, including: 

  • Coworkers
  • Managers
  • Contractors
  • Vendors
  • Customers and clients

The source of the harassment is irrelevant, however. What is salient is that the harassment creates a hostile work environment, regardless of the source. It interferes with a person’s ability to perform their employment duties effectively.

What benefits can be derived from a sexual harassment claim?

Ohio law might allow you to file a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation if you faced sexual harassment in your workplace. Filing such a claim is more than a matter of economics, though. Your courage in stepping forward in filing a lawsuit may pave the way for other workers to do the same.