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Misconceptions About Sexual Harassment

Last updated 2 years ago

Sexual harassment is a continuing problem in the workplace, yet few people really know what it is. In a climate of increasing sexual harassment, it is more important than ever to understand this unacceptable behavior. Read on to find out the truth about sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment only happens to women

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, male or female. Additionally, both men and women can be harassers, and same-sex sexual harassment is not uncommon.

Most harassment is just misinterpreted flirtation

Sexual harassment involves much more than flirting. Harassment usually includes threats, taunts, and intimidation, which are sometimes severe enough to drive victims to leave their jobs.

The perpetrator must intend it to be harassment

No matter how a person intends a behavior, it can still qualify as sexual harassment. Many harassers think they are being cute, or that everyone knows they are just joking. Intention does not matter; the victim’s reaction is far more important, as long as that reaction can be judged to be “reasonable.”

If the victim accepts the abuser’s advances, she cannot file a claim

Though it is important to refuse sexual advances and report harassment, victims sometimes feel that doing so will mean getting fired. In those cases, if it can be shown that the behavior was unwelcome and the victim accepted it only to avoid negative consequences, there is still grounds for a sexual harassment claim.

Ignoring sexual harassment will make it go away

Adopting a stiff upper lip and trying to just ignore a harasser’s advances will not make them go away; in fact, it may often make the harasser bolder.

Though sexual harassment is more common than ever, it is also more misunderstood than ever. Victims of sexual abuse should not feel that they have to accept harassment; instead, the Advocacy Center for Employment Law can provide assistance with filing a claim and getting justice. Call (408) 557-0300 for a complimentary consultation today. 


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