Sometimes sexual harassment in the workplace may be easy to spot. The actual touching of another person in an unwanted way can constitute sexual harassment; receiving inappropriate attention of a sexual nature from one's boss or co-workers can also be considered workplace sexual harassment. However, not all forms of sexual harassment are easily apparent. Men and women who work in California often feel the negative impact of subversive or covert sexual harassment even when it is not clearly identifiable or directed at them.
Covert sexual harassment can involve the use of offhand, derogatory language or the apparent acceptance within a workplace of the telling of sexually inappropriate jokes. It can also involve ignoring individuals of a particular sex during work functions or meetings, or calling attention to individuals of a particular sex based on their appearances or physical attributes. Covert sexual harassment can become part of a workplace's culture and can create serious problems for those who must function within its structure.
Individuals who are subjected to covert sexual harassment suffer from feelings of low job satisfaction, even if they perform at a high level. They incur ailments that harm their mental and physical health. They also have decreased commitments to their employers and may experience workplace related stresses in their non-work lives.
Covert and overt sexual harassment in the workplace creates hostile work environments for those who must earn their livings in such damaging places. However, victims of either form of sexual harassment have rights to bring their harassers' actions to light and to be protected from further harm. State and federal laws have been enacted to shield California workers, both men and women, from the unwanted, damaging, and ultimately harmful sexually-driven conduct of their workplace peers.
Source: Medical Daily, "Both Overt And Covert Workplace Sexual Harassment Is Damaging To Women's Health And Well-Being," Kristin Magaldi, Aug. 28, 2015