Myths about Workplace Sexual Harassment Dispelled

Myths about Workplace Sexual Harassment Dispelled

Believing some common misconceptions about workplace sexual harassment can be harmful. That is because these myths can mislead people about what constitutes workplace sexual harassment and what their options are for justice if they are subjected to it.

To set the record straight, below we have presented the truth behind some common, possibly damaging myths about workplace sexual harassment.

Myth 1: Workplace sexual harassment has to involve physical contact.

The truth: No, workplace sexual harassment can occur without any touching or physical contact taking place. In fact, while touching or physical contact can constitute workplace sexual harassment, so too can it involve:

  • Statements, like making offensive or explicit comments, lewd jokes, etc.
  • Emails or displays, including sending inappropriate sexual messages to someone, displaying sexually explicit images or posters, emailing pornographic materials to coworkers, etc.
  • Looks or gestures, such as leering, making lewd gestures, etc.

Myth 2: Workplace sexual harassment is rare, and it only affects women.

The truth: Both parts of this myth are false, as workplace sexual harassment is not rare and it can impact male and female workers. In fact, while the EEOC annually receives at least 11,000 complaints regarding workplace sexual harassment in the U.S.1, some research has found that, by the age of 34, at least 1 in every 3 women has been subject to some form of workplace sexual harassment.

Additionally, it is important to note here that:

  • Men can be and are the targets of workplace sexual harassment.
  • This type of harassment can occur regardless of the gender and positions of the involved parties. In other words, a superior or a colleague at an equal or lower level (either male or female) can sexually harass another worker (who also can be either male or female).
  • The harasser and the victim do not have to be different genders for workplace harassment to occur.

Myth 3: The best way to deal with workplace sexual harassment is to ignore it and hope it will just stop.

The truth: Wrong! Ignoring workplace sexual harassment will usually NOT solve the problem, as this type of harassment can – and often does – escalate, especially if the harasser misinterprets victim’s (or victims’) disregard as an invitation for further advances.

What is typically better for the targets of workplace sexual harassment to do is to:

  • Tell their harasser that his or her actions are offensive and/or are not welcome
  • Report the harassment to the employer, no matter how “minor” an incident may seem (These reports can be pivotal to establishing a pattern of harassment in the future.)
  • Consult with an attorney to discuss options for fighting back and obtaining justice.

Contact a Sherman Oaks Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Koron & Podolsky, LLP

If you have been the target of workplace sexual harassment, contact a Sherman Oaks sexual harassment lawyer at Koron & Podolsky, LLP to find out more about your options for justice and financial recovery.

Known for providing our clients with aggressive legal advocacy, our lawyers are exceptional litigators who are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and advancing their interests through all phases of litigation.

Call us today at 818-380-3077, or email us using the contact form on this page for more information about your potential case and how to proceed. From Sherman Oaks, our lawyers provide superior representation to people throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and the state of California.


1: According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)