Types of Workplace Harassment: Verbal, Nonverbal, Physical & Visual

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  • 0:01 Sexual Harassment Defined
  • 0:26 Verbal Harassment
  • 1:15 Nonverbal Sexual Harassment
  • 1:37 Visual Sexual Harassment
  • 2:10 Physical Sexual Harassment
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Conduct constituting workplace sexual harassment can come in various forms. In this lesson, you'll learn about verbal, nonverbal, physical and visual forms of workplace sexual harassment. A short quiz follows.

Sexual Harassment Defined

Before we identify the forms sexual harassment can take, let's take a moment to define sexual harassment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Now, let's see the ways this inappropriate conduct can be carried out.

Verbal Harassment

A common form of sexual harassment is verbal. Examples of verbal workplace sexual harassment include:

  • Offensive jokes of a sexual nature or sexist nature
  • Repeated and unwelcomed requests for sexual favors
  • Repeated and unwelcomed requests for dates
  • Excessive and unwelcomed flirting
  • Threats regarding adverse employment action if sexual favors are not granted
  • Unwelcome compliments of a sexual nature

You'll notice that the verbal conduct involves unwelcome conduct that is repetitive and excessive. An isolated verbal incident may not rise to the level of workplace sexual harassment. On the other hand, if a single incident is egregious enough, such as demanding sex to keep a job, one incident is enough for sexual harassment.

Nonverbal Sexual Harassment

As you would probably expect, not all sexual harassment is verbal in nature. Sexual harassment can also occur through nonverbal communication. Nonverbal sexual harassment does not involve oral communication or physical contact. Some examples of nonverbal sexual harassment include lewd or suggestive gesturing, winking and leering.

Visual Sexual Harassment

It should come as no surprise that sexual harassment may derive from visual media. Examples of visual sexual harassment include:

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