Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment and What to Do About It

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Unpaid Overtime Oct 09, 2018

inappropriate physical contact at workNo one should have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. You should be able to focus on your job without being subjected to lewd conversation, physical gestures or actions that create a hostile work environment.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to occur at workplaces across the nation. This is why you should be aware of the different types of harassment so you know when it is occurring. You should also be informed about what to do about it. The experienced employment lawyers in Maryland at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are ready to assist you with your claim. There are no costs or fees unless you receive compensation.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Many reports have been made across the country of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive to the extent that it creates a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment can also be harassment based on a person’s sex even if it is not sexual in nature. You may have a claim for sexual harassment even if you are not the target of harassment, such as if you hear lewd comments directed toward someone else.

Sexual harassment usually falls under one of the following categories:

Verbal or Written

Verbal or written harassment includes any spoken or written harassing comments of a sexual nature or that refer to a particular sex. Some examples of verbal or written harassment include:

  • Making sexual comments about another person
  • Making comments about a person’s clothing or body
  • Telling sexual jokes
  • Telling sexual anecdotes
  • Requesting sexual favors
  • Inquiring about someone’s sexual history
  • Sending unwanted suggestive texts, emails or letters
  • Making derogatory remarks about a particular sex


Physical sexual harassment involves the perpetrator using his or her body in an inappropriate and sexual way. This includes intentionally brushing up against another person, inappropriate touching, pinching, kissing, stroking, patting or rubbing. It also includes blocking someone else from moving.


Sometimes, a person does not touch or say anything but is still committing harassment. Some examples of nonverbal harassment include:

  • Staring at someone in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner
  • Whistling
  • Making offensive gestures or facial expressions
  • Looking a person up and down


Visual harassment involves publicly showing images or other inappropriate things that are sexual in nature or based on a person’s sex. Some examples of this form of harassment include:

  • Sharing a sexually inappropriate image or video with coworkers
  • Posting inappropriate drawings, pictures or posters in the workplace
  • Displaying sexual images in the workplace

What to Do About Sexual Harassment

If you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment, there are several steps that you can take to protect yourself and your claim, including the following:

  • Say no – For acts to be considered sexual harassment, they must be unwelcome. Make it clear that you do not want this type of conduct or behavior directed at you. Refuse all invitations for dates and do not engage in sexual banter.
  • Write it down – Keep a record of harassing conduct. Be specific and include all relevant dates, places, times, other people who were around and the harassment that occurred. Keep this record in a safe place away from your workplace.
  • Keep your work records – Your harasser may try to attack your job performance as a way to defend against your accusations. Keep copies of your performance evaluations to refute these allegations. Also, keep any written communication with your harasser that documents harassment or statements from you showing that it is unwelcome.
  • Report it to your employer – It is important that you inform your employer of what is going on. Otherwise, your employer may be able to claim that it was not aware of the harassment. Report the conduct to the person or department designated by your employer, such as your direct supervisor or human resources department. Keep a copy of your report for your records. Follow all procedures that are outlined in your employee handbook or sexual harassment policy.
  • Make a formal complaint – Report the actions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You should also report any actions your employer took after you made your internal report.

Contact an Employment Lawyer

If you believe that you may have been sexually harassed in the workplace, contact an experienced employment law attorney.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl can review the circumstances of your case and determine if you have a viable claim.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to explore your legal options. The consultation is free and comes with no obligation, so there is no risk in contacting us.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 410-244-7005.

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