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Lesser-known examples of sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is a pervasive issue that may extend beyond what you usually consider sexual harassment. Most people understand that unwanted advances and explicit comments constitute harassment, but there are also lesser-known examples that can help you identify harassment in the workplace.

All employees have the right to experience a safe work environment with no hostility.


Men and women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, with about 38% of women and 14% of men claiming to experience harassment at work. Unfortunately, some may not recognize microaggressions as sexual harassment.

Microaggressions are subtle forms of sexual harassment that communicate hostility or discrimination based on gender. For instance, a snide remark, derogatory joke, or belittling comment may constitute harassment because it creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. Keep in mind you can and should still report even unintentional incidents.

Digital and cyber harassment

Digital communication has become more common in the workplace. You may have your colleagues’ or supervisors’ emails or phone numbers to send messages back and forth. If someone sends you explicit images or cyberstalks you, you may have a claim of cyber harassment.

Institutional discrimination

Sexual harassment can include institutional harassment. Look at your workplace’s policies and determine if you face discriminatory policies. For example, sexual harassment can consist of a supervisor calling a woman too aggressive while celebrating a man’s leadership qualities when he acts the same. Systemic practices should not put you at a disadvantage due to gender.

If you file a claim against your workplace for sexual harassment or if you resist sexual advances from your employers or supervisors, you cannot face reprimand or retaliation. When an employer discourages victims from coming forward with their story or threatens a person’s job security, he or she violates employee rights.