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What are some less common forms of sexual harassment?

Most people in California know that sexual harassment is illegal. However, sexual harassment doesn’t always involve inappropriate touching or lewd comments. Some forms of sexual harassment are less obvious, but when you figure out what’s going on, you should talk to an attorney immediately.

What are some subtle forms of sexual harassment?

Under federal and state law, it’s illegal for your supervisor or co-worker to make sexually charged comments that make you uncomfortable. This doesn’t just apply to blatantly sexual remarks like asking you to have sex with them. It also involves asking you about your sexual history, questioning you about your sexual orientation, telling you graphic details about their sex life and making inappropriate jokes.

In fact, your co-worker doesn’t have to make a comment at all to engage in sexual harassment. They could whistle at you or stare at you in a way that makes you uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean that you can sue your co-worker for staring at you, but it could be part of your lawsuit if it reflects a pattern of sexual harassment. An employment law attorney could help you build your case against this person.

Bringing sexually explicit materials in the workplace is another form of sexual harassment. Even if they don’t outright force you to look at the materials, it’s still inappropriate for them to have sexually charged content in their work area. This includes looking at porn on the internet, saving explicit images to their computer or hanging up suggestive posters in their work space.

Finally, sexual harassment includes making offensive comments about your gender or sexual orientation. This includes insulting you, belittling you or asking questions like “How do you have sex?” You should never feel obligated to explain anything about your gender or sexuality to anyone.

Are you a victim of sexual harassment?

When you experience sexual harassment, it’s important to talk to HR or your supervisor as soon as possible. Otherwise, they might claim that they didn’t know about the situation. When you have documented evidence that the incident took place, you could use that against your supervisor or co-worker in court.