Sexual harassment occurs every day. It isn’t as rampant as Mad Men popularized about the 50’s and 60’s, however, subtle harassment occurs every day. It is so common because sex is a difficult concept to unpack. Drawing a line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is murky. Therefore, it is up to you, your supervisors, co-workers, and friends to identify and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. To guide you in your goal, here are six facts about sexual harassment.

First, sexually harassing conduct must be unwelcome. When you put people together, it is inevitable that some of them will be attracted to one another or even develop romantic feelings. No one, least of all the courts, is interested in preventing the development of relationships in the workplace. Therefore, for workplace conduct to rise to the level of harassment, it must be without consent or be unwelcome.  That is the difficult issue to identify, drawing the line between harmless flirting and workplace harassment.

Second, victims of harassment are both men and women and occur both to members of the opposite and same sex.

Third, anyone who is affected by the harassment is a victim, not just the person who was the object of the harassment. For example, someone who is a survivor of a sexual assault may be particularly sensitive to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Fourth, aggressors can be anyone. Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that harassers are supervisors, co-workers, and non-employees.

Finally, it ‘s hard to drill down what particular behavior constitutes “harassment, , ” but it can range from unwanted sexual advances to overt verbal and physical harassment. The key that makes conduct harassment is that is unwanted interferes with a person’s employment and leads to a hostile work environment.

As you can see, sexual harassment is a complicated matter to address. If you believe that you or a co-worker was the victims of sexual harassment, then you may want to contact an employment attorney. A lawyer can walk you through the various legal options to ensure that you don’t have to return to a hostile work environment. Everyone deserves to work in a place they can feel safe.