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What is non-physical sexual harassment?

As a worker in California, you deserve a safe space you can come to and work in. Many workplaces promise this, and claim to have strict policies against any sexual harassment. Unfortunately, this is not always true. 

You may even suffer as a victim of sexual harassment without knowing this is what you are going through. After all, not every case of sexual harassment is physical in nature. 

Identifying sexual harassment at work

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a look at the issue of sexual harassment at work. In specific, they bring up the idea of non-physical sexual harassment. When people think about sexual harassment, assault is often not far from their thoughts. Indeed, many cases of sexual harassment include assault. But there are plenty of cases that do not involve sexual assault, despite still constituting as sexual harassment. 

Examples of non-physical sexual harassment

Non-physical sexual harassment often involves verbal harassment. Examples include: 

  • Employers catcalling you or making lewd remarks 
  • Fellow employees spreading malicious rumors centered around your sexuality, sexual life, etc. 
  • An employer threatening to fire or demote you if you do not perform sexual services 
  • An employer bribing you with promotions or bonuses if you perform sexual services 

Sexual harassment can even include gender-based discrimination. If someone makes a derogatory remark based on your gender or physical sex, this constitutes as sexual harassment. 

Harassment to this level is unlawful. If the harassment disrupts your ability to work and makes the workplace a toxic environment, you can take action. This may include taking the offending party to court. It also includes holding the company accountable for allowing a negative environment to grow. 


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