What Is Sexual Harrassment? Helping People Understand What Qualifies As Sexual Harrassment

The definition of sexual harassment has changed over the last decade. It is much more than having someone physically grope you at work. With the recent "#MeToo" movement, more actions are now considered sexual harassment, making it a little more confusing as to what behaviors constitute sexual harassment. If you think you have been sexually harassed, you definitely need to talk to a sexual harassment attorney. Until you can speak with an attorney, the following should help you figure out if you have been sexually harassed. 

Physical Harassment

This is the original basis for physical harassment lawsuits. This type of harassment was initially put into the law books starting in the mid-seventies and developed throughout the late eighties and early nineties. It meant that no employer could touch, threaten, manipulate, or coerce an employee into physical contact or sexual behaviors or sexual favors. As time went on, it became apparent that there were many other behaviors that tended to make female employees more uncomfortable, and on less frequent occasions, male employees. 

Verbal Sexual Harassment

One of the things that is now addressed in sexual harassment laws is verbal sexual harassment. This includes sexual comments, sexual or "dirty" jokes, come-ons of a sexual nature, verbal sexual passes in the direction of a particular person, comments about a person's figure or body parts (even when the person being talked about is not within hearing range), and anything else said that makes someone feel really uncomfortable. Being offended about something that was said may not be enough for a lawsuit, so you should be either the direct or indirect target of what is being said or what was said in order to have a strong case.

Visual Sexual Harassment

Visual sexual harassment laws have been added in the last decade, now that people can "sext" each other and mail each other sexual pictures or videos on their phones and mobile devices. Computers and work computers had to be included in these laws. Social media also had to be addressed in sexual harassment laws since offenders were able to photoshop heads onto nude or barely dressed bodies and then make social media posts about them. If someone has sent you pictures of a sexual nature or pornographic content or made you the target of sexual or pornographic content on a website or social media page, that is definitely sexual harassment. In all of the above instances, you can sue the parties responsible.