Though prohibited by both Colorado state law and federal regulation, there are hundreds of reports of sexual harassment statewide every year. Nationwide, the reports number in the thousands. The signs that sexual harassment is taking place in your workplace may be overt, or they may be more subtle.

According to Chron.com, there are two basic types of sexual harassment. The more overt type is the quid pro quo. This occurs when a person in authority makes an employment action conditional upon you complying with his or her demands for sexual favors. In other words, if you do not perform an act of a sexual nature for the supervisor’s benefit, he or she will have you fired, prevent you from receiving a promotion, dock your pay, etc.

The second type is more subtle. It involves creating a toxic or hostile work environment through inappropriate touching, demeaning comments, sexually explicit jokes, etc. However, sexual harassment can include more than just physical or verbal conduct. Displaying pictures or other materials of a graphic sexual nature where you and other employees can see them can also contribute to a hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment is a workplace disruption that makes it more difficult for you to do your job. You do not have to be the person targeted for the abuse to affect you. If there is a pattern of inappropriate behavior in your workplace that makes you uncomfortable due to its sexual nature, the law may regard you as a victim of harassment even if you were not the intended target of the behavior and the person who was the target does not find it offensive.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.