While it might sound ridiculous, the senior staff at Netflix thought it was important enough to address during one of their anti-harassment training sessions [Source: Quartz at Work].
The issue of sexual harassment has received a significant amount of attention over the last few months. Many television stars and government officials have been called out by their victims who claimed they sexually harassed them at some point in their time of working together. With so much talk being dedicated to sexual harassment, we thought it was important to discuss what may or may not constitute as sexual harassment.
To be clear, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” While a hand touch or a comment of a sexual nature may be interpreted as a form of sexual harassment, how would someone interpret staring? What if you were to look over and see a co-worker of yours gazing in your direction with a small grin on his/her face? Would you feel violated or assume they were lost in their thoughts?
Although everyone might respond to those questions differently, employees over at Netflix decided that staring for more than five seconds was “creepy” and perhaps should be avoided.
So, can staring be classified as an act of sexual harassment?
According to the United Nations, “staring at someone” could be considered as a form of non-verbal sexual harassment. The fact is, staring at someone can lead to them feeling extremely uncomfortable, especially if they are being looked at in a way they consider to be a sexual manner. For example, if a male coworker is staring his female colleague up and down, it is likely their unwanted actions are going to make that female employee feel uncomfortable and maybe even violated. Hence, this behavior may lead to them filing a complaint against the male coworker if they continue to see them looking in their direction several times a day.
What are some other examples of non-verbal sexual harassment?
Some other examples the United Nations points that would constitute as non-verbal sexual harassment includes:
- Looking a person up and down.
- Blocking a person’s pathway.
- Following a person around.
- Giving personal gifts without reasons or request.
- Displaying sexually suggestive visuals.
- Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements.
- Making facial expressions such as “winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.”
Sometimes, a person may even go a step further if they see they are getting away with their non-verbal acts and begin to say inappropriate things. The United Nations shared some examples of acts that would be considered verbal sexual harassment which we have shared below for you:
- Referring to another adult as a “hunk, doll, babe, or honey.”
- Whistling at someone, also referred to as making “cat calls.”
- Making sexual comments about a person’s body.
- Turning a work discussion into a sexual conversation.
- Telling sexual jokes or stories.
- Asking someone about their sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
- Asking someone personal questions about social or sexual life.
- Directing kissing sounds and/or howling at someone.
- Making sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks.
- Continuously asking out a person who is not interested.
- Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life.
Anytime a person feels as though they are being sexually harassed, they have the right to file a complaint with their employer and can even contact a sexual harassment attorney to obtain legal advice. And depending on how serious the allegations might be, a person could be at risk of losing their job as well as facing other consequences if it can be proven that they did, in fact, engage in behavior considered to be sexual harassment.
Do you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment but aren’t sure if you should file a complaint? Why not contact one of our CA sexual misconduct lawyers who will take the time to listen to your concerns and help you make an informed decision as to how you should handle the situation.
Now, you believe you are the victim of sexual misconduct and aren’t sure who to turn to for help, contact USAttorneys.com. We can help you locate a sexual harassment lawyer in San Diego, CA who can explain the possible steps you might take as well as what your legal rights are. In most cases, a victim of sexual harassment is often fearful of retaliation or that their claims won’t be taken seriously. But, when you place your trust in one of our lawyers, you can be sure your claims will be taken seriously and handled accordingly.