Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or written. It can include:

  • Comments about a person’s private life or the way they look
  • Sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring
  • Brushing up against someone, touching, fondling or hugging
  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes
  • Displaying offensive screen savers, photos, calendars or objects
  • Repeated requests to go out
  • requests for sex
  • Sexually explicit emails, text messages or posts on social networking sites
  • Sexual assault
  • Indecent exposure
  • Inappropriate touching such as patting, pinching, or brushing up against the body
  • Cornering, invading personal space
  • Attempted or actual kissing, fondling, rape
  • Blocking a passageway


  • QUID PRO QUO meaning “this for that” in Latin,

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when an individual, typically a supervisor, ask or hints at sexual favors in exchange for employment benefit

Some of these benefits may Include:
  • Wage increases (raises)
  • A larger or newer office or cubicle
  • Promotion
  • Travel opportunities
  • More desirable shifts
  • Job retention

Another type of quid pro quo sexual harassment deals with the repercussions of declining the supervisor’s advances. This may include:

  • Termination
  • Threats
  • Demotion
  • Less desirable work assignments
  • Unsatisfactory shifts

Because of these negative consequences, the harasser uses their position of power to intimidate or coerce the other party into submission.


Hostile work environment sexual harassment consists of repeated sexual advances, gestures, jokes, or other comments that prevent an employee from working without intimidation or threat.

  • Some examples of this type of harassment may include:
  • Incessant or repetitious telling of sexual or dirty anecdotes or jokes
  • Cartoons, images, icons, pictures, and even dolls or statues with a sexual undertone or of a sexual nature
  • Insulting or using derogatory sexual terms toward another person
  • Writing emails, memos, or other correspondence that includes sexual innuendos or other material
  • Repeated, sexually oriented behavior such as touching, rubbing, or groping that’s done without the permission of the other party

Remember that harassers can be managers, supervisors, co-workers or 3rd parties, such as clients or vendors while victims can be anyone who is offended by the offensive behaviour, therefore to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, the following strategies can be adopted:

  • Limit physical contact to handshakes.
  • Be careful of what you email or what you display on your computer.
  • Don’t be afraid to come forward & report the harassment
  • Implement a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and encourage employees to come forward to report misconduct

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