Different types of sexual harassment

In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of sexual harassment & how to recognize it. From subtle behaviors like uncomfortable touching to more obvious forms like demanding sexual favors for benefits. We will also explore real-life examples & misconceptions about sexual harassment.

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Video script

When you hear the term ‘‘sexual harassment’’, you probably have a few specific situations that come to mind.

But, sometimes, it might not be very obvious. For example - even a joke between two colleagues might be offensive or create discomfort to other people in the workplace.

Generally, there are two categories of sexual harassment. The first one is when a figure who has power or authority in the workplace asks for sexual favors in exchange for benefits, such as a raise or promotion. However, this person could also take a different approach and demand sexual favors under the threat of firing or demoting the victim. The second type of sexual harassment is more subtle. Situations can occur where a supervisor, subordinate, or even customer or visitor can use derogatory speech or display behaviors that create discomfort for others.

Examples of this kind of behavior are sexual comments or jokes, inappropriate touching, pestering someone about going out on a date, sharing unsolicited offensive images, and many others. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize when something is sexual harassment, because it only occurs once, or very rarely. Imagine that you work in a marketing team with your colleague, Eric. Eric has told you that your boss, Anna, has asked him out on a date, but he declined. She took the rejection well. One day, Anna comes over to talk to Eric, and she places her hand on Eric’s shoulder as she is explaining something work-related. Anna is known to touch colleagues on the shoulders. However, you can see that Eric is uncomfortable with the touch but doesn’t say anything.

Pause for a moment and see if you think it is sexual harassment. In this case, considering that the touch makes Eric uncomfortable, it falls into the category of subtle sexual harassment. In the next video, we will take a look at some misconceptions about sexual harassment, as well as the different circumstances it can happen in.