Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Is Still An Issue

by Nov 19, 2014

California state law AB1825 mandates sexual harassment training for employees. Despite such laws in place, sexual harassment is rife in the workplace.

Lets start by acknowledging that sexual harassment can be inflicted upon any prescribed gender or sex. However, women are by far the most heavily affected, the most subjugated via inappropriate sexual harassments, and alarmingly most likely to not report sexual harassment and let the abuse continue. According to research collected by California attorney Frank Nicholas, about 79 percent of all sexual harassment is inflicted on female workers.

As well, the subject of sexual harassment against women IS being taken more seriously as of late — but is also the butt of many jokes, which is something that needs to change.

So often, women think that sexual harassment is somehow their fault, or that they deserve it and are not in a place where they can (or deserve to) put a stop to it.

In a recent poll by the Huffington Post, about 19 percent of responders claimed to have been victims of sexual harassment, with an alarming 70 percent of those saying that they did not report the event or events of abuse (“Workplace sexual harassment poll finds large share of workers suffer, don’t report,” 2013).

Sexual harassment against women (and men, LGBT, etc.) is real and, in many places, a genuine crime. If you think that yourself or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, consider contacting an attorney — such as a discrimination lawyer. Even if your country does not have laws protecting against sexual harassment, being threatened or even touched in an unwanted way can be considered assault.

But how does one spot sexual harassment? Not every instance is as obvious as a grope in an inappropriate place. In order to protect yourself and get the lawful justice you deserve, learn to spot the signs. (As well, if you are a potential sexual harassment offender who simply doesn’t know what is and is not allowed, here is a guide.)

Instances of sexual harassment:

-Derogatory terms, which can be extreme — like “slut” or “whore”– or can be seemingly mild, like “babe” or “sweet cheeks,” are considered serious sexual harassment as long as they are unwanted, unwelcome and inappropriate;

-Physical harassment, such as having your body touched intentionally or even stared at, can also be considered;

-and having your personal space invaded by someone else (intentionally) can also be considered harassment.

Remember, it is never in ANY WAY your fault if you are being harassed or abused. It is not because “you are easy” or because you wear “revealing outfits.” Consent is not the absence of a “no;” consent = an enthusiastic “yes.” It is never your fault that someone is disrespecting you or your body; and if they do this, it is entirely in your right to seek justice.


Jackson, M. @ Mason, V. (2014). Sexual harassment lawyer research: Surprising statistics. Retrieved from

Workplace sexual harassment poll finds large share of workers suffer, don’t report. (2013). Retrieved from

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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