Did you know that there is more than one type of sexual harassment that can happen in a workplace? It’s smart for you to understand these different types so that you can protect yourself against being harassed and report it when it does happen.
The three main kinds of sexual harassment include verbal harassment, physical harassment and visual harassment. Most people are familiar with physical harassment, which would be if someone touched you inappropriately, and verbal harassment, which could be if someone makes a lewd comment about you in the workplace. The third type is less obvious, so it’s often discussed less.
What is visual sexual harassment?
Visual sexual harassment is a type of sexual harassment in which the offender exposes themselves to another person, makes lewd drawings or cartoons that are offensive to the victim or sends an email to the victim with offensive content.
An example of visual sexual harassment could be a female or male employee sending a coworker a pornographic video of themselves or others. Even though this doesn’t directly involve the victim, the fact that the video is offensive and unwelcome makes it sexual harassment.
What other scenarios may be considered visual harassment?
It may also be visual harassment if someone in the office hangs up an offensive sexual calendar or has a poster with offensive visuals up on the wall. Lewd gestures, such as an employee thrusting toward another, could also constitute visual harassment.
What should you do if you face harassment on the job?
No matter what kind of sexual harassment you face, it is your right to ask the other party to stop their offensive actions. If they refuse, you should talk to a supervisor or your human resources department.
If that doesn’t work, then it is time to look into your legal options. Sexual harassment is illegal, and you are protected by federal law. You may want to write down the dates of any offensive acts and keep copies of documentation so that you can present this evidence to your attorney. Then, you may be able to build a case against your employer for allowing sexual harassment to continue in your workplace.