What types of conduct have been found to be sexual harassment?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Sexual harassment is far broader than a threat along the lines of: “If you want to keep your job, you’ll have to go to bed with me.” Supervisors, co-employees, or even customers and vendors can sexually harass an employee. Courts and agencies — after considering all of the circumstances in the particular cases — have variously found the following types of conduct to be illegal sexual harassment: 

  1. Repeated sexual innuendo, obscene or off-color jokes, slurs, lewd remarks and language, and other offensive sexual comments;
  2. Content in letters and notes, facsimiles, e-mail, graffiti that is of a sexual nature or sexually abusive;
  3. Sexual propositions, insults, and threats;
  4. Sexually-oriented demeaning names;
  5. Persistent unwanted sexual or romantic overtures or attention;
  6. Leering, whistling, or other sexually suggestive sounds or gestures;
  7. Displaying pornographic pictures, calendars, cartoons, or other sexual material in the workplace;
  8. Coerced or unwelcome touching, patting, brushing up against, pinching, kissing, stroking, massaging, squeezing, fondling, or tickling;
  9. Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors;
  10. Coerced sexual intercourse (e.g., as a condition of employment or academic status).

If you have experienced any of this behavior on the job, consider seeking legal help to find out whether you may have a case for sexual harassment.

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