Sexual harassment,as defined by EEOC, "It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex." Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of circumstances. Often, but not always, the harasser is in a position of power or authority over the victim (due to differences in age, or social, political, educational or employment relationships) or expecting to receive such power or authority in form of promotion. Forms of harassment relationships include:
- The harasser can be anyone, such as a client, a co-worker, a parent or legal guardian, relative, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger.
- The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be a witness of such behavior who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it.
- The place of harassment occurrence may vary from school, university, workplace and other
- There may be other witnesses or attendances, or not
- The harasser may be completely unaware that his or her behavior is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or may be completely unaware that his or her actions could be unlawful.
- The harassment may be one time occurrence but more often it has a type of repetitiveness
- Adverse effects on the target are common in the form of stress and social withdrawal, sleep and eating difficulties, overall health impairment, etc.
- The victim and harasser can be any gender
- The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex.
Misunderstanding: It can result from a situation where one thinks he/she is making themselves clear, but is not understood the way they intended. The misunderstanding can either be reasonable or unreasonable. An example of unreasonable is when a man holds a certain stereotypical view of a woman such that he did not understand the woman’s explicit message to stop.