What Is Non-physical Sexual Harassment?

By Gregory Thyberg on June 24, 2022


sexual harassment complaint formIn recent years, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace has gained a lot of attention. Unfortunately, despite state and federal laws that are in place to protect workers from harassment, sexual harassment remains a common concern among American workers.

Part of the problem is that some people do not understand the full scope of sexual harassment. Many mistakenly believe that sexual harassment must involve physical contact. In fact, non-physical sexual harassment can also create a hostile or unsafe work environment. Here, sexual harassment lawyer Gregory Thyberg, who serves Sacramento, CA, and surrounding areas, goes over types of non-physical sexual harassment that workers may be subjected to.

Verbal Harassment

Verbal sexual harassment refers to comments that are of a sexual nature. The comments could be made directly to a coworker, within earshot of the coworker, or behind the coworker's back. Common forms of verbal sexual harassment include:

  • Catcalling
  • Referring to a coworker by a pet name, e.g., sweetie, honey, etc.
  • Commenting on a coworker’s body or appearance
  • Sending sexual comments via email or social media
  • Telling jokes that are sexual in nature
  • Making derogatory comments based on a coworker’s gender

Use of Threats or Coercion

Threats and coercion are two more examples of non-physical sexual harassment. In these situations Sacramento workers are threatened with some type of punishment or negative consequence if they refuse to provide a sexual favor or perform a sexual act. For instance, a supervisor may threaten to demote an employee or deny them a promotion opportunity if they do not go on a date with them. In some circumstances workers are coerced to provide sexual favors through the use of promises instead of threats. An example of this would be offering an employee a raise in exchange for them performing a sexual act.

Sharing Sexual Content or Spreading Rumors

Sexual harassment is not always physical or verbal. If a coworker shares unwanted sexual content, that is another form of harassment. This could include sending sexually-related emails, sharing videos that are of a sexual nature, or sending/showing sexual photos. Another way that someone can be harassed behind their back is through the spreading of sexual-related rumors. 

Contact Us

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, your employee rights have been violated and you may be due financial compensation for related damages. To discuss your case with lawyer Gregory Thyberg, send us a message online, or call (916) 204-9173 and schedule a consultation at our Sacramento law firm.

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