Workplace Sexual Harassment: 4 Inappropriate Ways Your Supervisor May Behave toward Employees

It isn't uncommon for an employee to develop a close relationship with a supervisor. After all, they spend countless hours working together and getting to know one another. However, not all of these relationships are positive. According to a 2008 survey, 17 percent of respondents who said they have been harassed at work were sexually harassed by their supervisor. While 79 percent of the victims were woman, 20 percent were men. Therefore, anyone can suffer this type of harassment at work, but if it's happening to you, you don't have to allow it to continue. Read on to learn more about workplace sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviors of supervisors that do not have to be stomached.

Understanding Sexual Harassment at Work

The thing is, with sexual harassment, you may not realize what's going on until it's too late. From giving a little hug and calling you "sweetie" to coercing you into sex by threatening your job, there are many inappropriate things that supervisors can do in the workplace, and you don't have to tolerate them. Maybe you're new to working and don't know the signs of harassment or aren't sure whether the advance that your supervisor made on you is worthy of a harassment complaint. Whatever the case may be, here are four behaviors that are completely inappropriate and may come from your supervisor:

1. Inappropriate, Unwanted Hugs.

To most employees, a little hug now and then isn't a big deal. However, when that hug is from a supervisor, it's not okay. This is especially true if you don't want the hug or if the hug is a little too tight, lasts a little too long, or is a little too close for comfort.

2. Unnecessary Name Calling.

From "sweetie" to "slut," you do not have to tolerate name calling by a supervisor or even another coworker. Your supervisor is supposed to be your workplace role model and the person you look up to. He or she is not supposed to be someone that calls you inappropriate and unnecessary names. Regardless of the name you are being called, it is important to make note of it in a diary, including the name, the time it occurred, and other circumstance you feel is important, and report it to the HR department.

3. Sexual Proposition.

Employees and their supervisors are not permitted to have sex, according to most company policy. However, two consenting adults are allowed to have a sexual relationship if they wish to do so. Keep in mind, though, that if your supervisor makes an unwanted move on you at any time inside or outside of the workplace, you need to clearly and firmly tell him or her that you are not interested and to please stop. If this unsuitable behavior continues after you refused him or her, you need to go above his or her head at work and report the incident.

4. Sexual Coercion.

Sexual harassment can also occur in the form of sexual coercion, which basically means that the supervisor is promising you something or threatening you with something in exchange for keeping quiet about sexual advances, broom closet sex (or rape), etc. An example of this would be that your supervisor coerced you into having sex with him or her against your will by promising a lucrative promotion, threatening a difficult time at work, or threatening to fire you.

All of the aforementioned behaviors are inexcusable from a manager, boss, or supervisor. If you have experienced any of these behaviors at work, it is time to speak to a sexual harassment attorney. You have rights under the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and you should not have to tolerate such detestable behavior.