Understanding Workplace Sexual Harassment

What is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Workplace Sexual harassment implies sexual advances, intimidation, bullying, coercion or inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature, and unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours. 

What forms can it take?
Workplace Sexual Harassment can manifest itself in the form of verbal or physical harassment. “Workplace” implies both, a place of work, and extends to include a work relationship. There are two kinds: quid pro quo, which is a demand for sexual favours in return for a reward, and hostile environment, which refers to plain sexual harassment.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment at work often creates an intimidating and hostile environment and interferes with an employee’s work performance. When submission to sexual advances of any kind, explicitly or implicitly come to dictate an employee’s working terms and employment in itself, it amounts to sexual harassment. This is also known as Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment. When rejection to any sexual advances on an employee’s part results in termination of his employment or result in a biased employment decisions such as promotion, termination and such, it amounts to sexual harassment. This also results into Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment. 

Sexual harassment includes:
· Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.  
· Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
· Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
· Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
· Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
· Unwanted pressure for dates.
· Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
· Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.
· Whistling at someone.
· Cat calls.
· Sexual comments.
· Turning work discussions to sexual topics.
 · Sexual innuendos or stories.
· Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
· Personal questions about social or sexual life.
· Sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks.
· Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
· Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life.
· Neck massage.
· Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body.
· Giving personal gifts.
· Hanging around a person.
· Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.
· Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.
· Standing close or brushing up against a person.
· Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).
· Staring at someone.
· Sexually suggestive signals.
· Facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.
· Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements.
· Stalking (repeatedly keeping a watch on or following someone).

In the Media

Chennai, India