What Are Examples of Sexual Harassment?

Examples of sexual harassment include any unwelcome comments, demeanor, or actions regarding sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a type of discrimination.

Sexual vs. Non-Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is the type of harassment most commonly reported in company environments and interviews, but non-sexual harassment is also common.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is the repetitive unwanted attention of a sexual nature or recurring unwanted attention based on sex. Sexual harassment is not only an attack on personal self-respect, but it is punishable under Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

Sexual harassment can be spoken, bodily, or visual. It can happen to women, men, transgender, and nongender-conforming people, and it is not constrained by sexual orientation.

Non-Sexual Harassment

Non-sexual harassment includes persecution concerning religion, race, age, gender, or skin color that may negatively affect an employee's accomplishments or create a hostile work environment.

Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Whether a manager, co-worker, or a non-employee such as a customer, service provider, or seller commits the offense, if the behavior generates an antagonistic work environment or disrupts an employee's achievements, it is considered unlawful sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment examples include:

  • Sharing sexually unsuitable images or videos, such as pornography, with other employees
  • Sending suggestive written correspondence, either traditionally or electronically
  • Continually asking a person out for social events like dates
  • Sharing vulgar jokes or sexual anecdotes
  • Making unsuitable sexual gestures or sounds such as sucking noises, winks, wolf calls, kissing noises, or pelvic thrusts
  • Gazing at a person in a sexually suggestive or distasteful manner, or whistling
  • Making sexual remarks about appearance or body parts
  • Trying to or actually kissing or fondling
  • Touching or eating food in a stimulating manner
  • Licking lips or teeth or blowing kisses
  • Non-stop babbling of a sexual nature
  • Sexual glances such as leering and ogling with distasteful overtones
  • Cornering or rough treatment of an employee
  • Attempted rape or rape
  • Stroking or massaging oneself sexually around another person
  • Practical jokes like exposing underwear or parts of the body
  • Unsuitable touching such as pinching, stroking, rubbing, or persistently brushing up against another person
  • Asking questions about a person's sexual past or their sexual orientation
  • Voicing offensive comments regarding a person's sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Taunting such as calling someone bitch, whore, or slut
  • Asking for sexual favors
  • Indirect proposals of sexual activities
  • Comments constantly aimed at only one sex, regardless if the content is not sexual
  • Persistent advances of a sexual nature which are rejected after the parties end a consensual connection
  • Remarks about a person's spouse or significant other
  • Pestering or stalking a person
  • Performing a neck/shoulder massage
  • Ranking a person's sexuality
  • Direct or roundabout threats or bribes for unwanted sexual relations
  • Scattering rumors about a person's sexuality

Examples of Non-Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Non-sexual harassment in the workplace includes any remark, deed, or type of conduct that is frightening, rude, threatening, or prejudiced and disturbs the business environment.

Non-sexual harassment examples include:

  • Making racist or discriminatory comments
  • Distasteful gestures, drawings, or clothing
  • Physical or verbal bullying
  • Stating negative commentary about an employee's personal religious beliefs, or trying to change them to a specific religion
  • Using bigoted slang, expressions, or nicknames
  • Remarking on a person's skin color or other cultural traits
  • Exhibiting racist drawings or posters
  • Making disgusting motions or hand gestures
  • Insulting a person's mental or physical disability
  • Sharing unsuitable images, videos, e-mails, letters, or notes in an unpleasant way
  • Discussing harmful racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes
  • Making insulting age-related remarks
  • Wearing garments that could offend a particular ethnic faction

Job Interview Harassment

Employers are limited to what questions and inquiries they can make during the interview process. They are prohibited from asking questions regarding race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, or sexual preferences.

If you need help with examples of sexual harassment, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.