Can Sexual Harassment be Verbal?

new-york-sexual-harassment-lawyersSome people think that your employer has to touch you in order for you to be a victim of sexual harassment, but this is not correct. You have the legal right to be free from verbal sexual communication as well as physical contact, and if you receive verbal sexual harassment you may be able to file a lawsuit and claim money damages to compensate you for your suffering. There are three main kinds of verbal sexual harassment: explicit language, threats and promises.

Explicit Language

You have the right to avoid sexual communication at your workplace unless it is part of your employer’s work (for example, employees of Playboy magazine may need to discuss sex sometimes). You always have the right to be free from personal sexual communication. If someone at work is insisting on talking to you about sex, you should tell them to stop. If they won’t, you should consult with an attorney to learn about your legal rights and the ways that you can fight back against this unwanted communication.


Sometimes an employer does not use explicit language but simply threatens an employee that she must engage in sexual activity in order to keep her job. Such threats are illegal. Your employer can’t demand sex in exchange for employment, and if he does you may be able to file a lawsuit against him claiming money damages to compensate you for your mistreatment.


Not all sexual harassment is negative. Your employer may also offer you positive changes in the terms and conditions of your employment if you engage in sexual acts or communication. This is known in the law as “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. It is illegal. Your employer can’t offer you better working conditions or higher pay in exchange for sexual communication or contact. If he does, you may be able to file a lawsuit against him and seek money damages to compensate you for this mistreatment.

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