Sexual Harassment Warning Signs

Are You Being Sexually Harassed?

Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. It can occur in many settings, including the workplace, schools, and public spaces. Despite being a prevalent issue, many people may not be aware of the warning signs of sexual harassment.

Our San Diego lawyer explains the signs of sexual harassment so you can understand how to identify them and what steps to take if you experience or witness this type of harassment.

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Warning Signs

Unwanted Physical Contact

One of the most obvious warning signs of sexual harassment is unwanted physical contact. This can include touching, groping, or other forms of physical contact that make you uncomfortable. You should know that physical contact can be sexual harassment even if it’s not violent or overtly sexual. For example, a coworker who frequently touches your arm or shoulder despite your protests may be engaging in sexual harassment.

Sexual Comments or Jokes

Another warning sign of sexual harassment is the use of sexual comments or jokes. This can include comments about your appearance, sexual preferences, or other aspects of your personal life. Sexual jokes and comments can be difficult to identify, especially in a workplace where colleagues may engage in banter. However, if these comments or jokes make you uncomfortable, try to speak up and let the person know that their behavior isn’t acceptable.

Inappropriate Emails or Text Messages

Sexual harassment can also occur through electronic communication. If you receive emails, text messages, or social media messages that are sexual in nature or make you uncomfortable, it may be a warning sign of sexual harassment. These messages can be difficult to confront, especially if they come from someone in a position of power. However, it’s important to document these messages and report them to HR or a supervisor if they continue.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is another warning sign of sexual harassment. This can include a workplace where sexual jokes or comments are frequent, where there’s a lot of sexualized imagery, or where employees are subjected to unwanted physical contact. A hostile work environment can be difficult to identify, especially if it’s normalized within the workplace. However, if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at work, report your concerns to HR or a supervisor.


If you report sexual harassment, you may be subject to retaliation. This can include being demoted, transferred to a different department, or even fired. Retaliation is illegal and should be reported immediately. If you experience retaliation, document the retaliation and report it to HR or a supervisor.

Verbal or Physical Threats

Verbal or physical threats can also be a warning sign of sexual harassment. This can include threats of physical violence or threats to your job if you do not comply with the harasser’s demands. If you feel threatened or unsafe, seek to report these threats to HR or a supervisor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

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