6 myths about sexual harassment

Posted in Sexual Harassment on August 25, 2016


There are many myths and misconceptions about sexual harassment in the workplace. For victims, it can be difficult to know how to identify sexual harassment – and what to do when it happens.

Let’s address some of those common myths:

  1. Sexual harassment only affects women: Women and men alike can be victims of sexual harassment.
  2. Sexual harassment only occurs between members of opposite sexes: Sexual harassment can be initiated by someone of the same sex or gender. This is often referred to as same-sex sexual harassment: a woman can sexually harass another woman, and a man can sexually harass another man.
  3. Sexual harassment has to be sexual in nature: Many people are under the false impression that for conduct to be considered sexual harassment, it must be overtly sexual in nature. This is not necessarily true. Sexual harassment can also be sexist in nature. Treating an employee unfairly because of his or her gender, or making sexist comments at work are two examples of sexual harassment-related behavior.
  4. Sexual harassment must involve touching: There are many examples of non-physical conduct that may be considered sexual harassment: showing inappropriate photos or computer images at work, making obscene gestures, staring inappropriately, making inappropriate comments on appearance, etc.
  5. The conduct has to occur over and over: Sexual harassment can be an isolated incident – or it can be prolonged conduct over a long period of time.
  6. Sexual harassment can’t take place outside of the office: Sexual harassment can occur at any work-related function – it’s not isolated to just what happens at the office.

It is important to remember that every case – every instance – is different. If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, it is important to get answers from a trusted source.

The attorneys at Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, offer a free consultation to answer your questions. Call (510) 433-1000 to schedule a time to meet and learn about your legal options.