Many people think that sexual harassment is a term reserved only for instances of forceful or abusive conduct. While unfortunately such types of behavior do occur in the workplace, sexual harassment can also occur in more subtle ways. If you are feeling uncomfortable in the workplace because of the inappropriate behavior of another, you must make yourself aware of the most common warning signs of sexual harassment.
There are two ways to define sexual harassment in the workplace. The first is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. This occurs when an employee with considerable power offers something of value in return for a favor of a sexual nature. For example, if your boss offers you a promotion in return for dating them, this would be an instance of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Alternatively, these instances could include threats made for not complying with these requests. For example, an instance where a boss threatens to fire an employee if they refuse to have sexual relations with them.
The other type of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace is defined by the creation of a hostile environment. A hostile environment could be created when a co-worker makes many minor inappropriate acts. For example, if a co-worker frequently makes sexual jokes aimed at you, this would be an example of sexual harassment.
If you are worried that by reporting an instance of sexual harassment you will be accused of overreacting, you should remember that you only need to prove that a hostile working environment was created as a result of the behavior. Therefore, if you can show that the behavior caused severe embarrassment and shame on your behalf, you are likely to be successful.