Examples of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of situations. These are examples of sexual harassment, not intended to be all inclusive.

Sexual harassment includes many things...

    • Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.

    • Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.

    • Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.

    • Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.

    • Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.

    • Unwanted pressure for dates.

    • Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.

    • Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.

    • Whistling at someone.

    • Cat calls.

    • Sexual comments.

    • Turning work discussions to sexual topics.

    • Sexual innuendos or stories.

    • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.

    • Personal questions about social or sexual life.

    • Sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks.

    • Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.

    • Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life.

    • Neck massage.

    • Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body.

    • Giving personal gifts.

    • Hanging around a person.

    • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.

    • Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.

    • Standing close or brushing up against a person.

    • Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).

    • Staring at someone.

    • Sexually suggestive signals.

    • Facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.

    • Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements


Nisha Priya Bhatia v. Union of India & Anr. CA No. 2365/2020 (Supreme Court of India)

" The approach of law as regards the cases of sexual harassment at workplace is not confined to cases of actual commission of acts of harassment, but also covers situations wherein the woman employee is subjected to prejudice, hostility, discriminatory attitude and humiliation in day to day functioning at the workplace."



    • Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey

    • Whistling at someone, cat calls

    • Making sexual comments about a person's body

    • Making sexual comments or innuendos

    • Turning work discussions to sexual topics

    • Telling sexual jokes or stories

    • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history

    • Asking personal questions about social or sexual life

    • Making kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips

    • Making sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks

    • Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested

    • Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life


    • Looking a person up and down (Elevator eyes)

    • Staring at someone

    • Blocking a person's path

    • Following the person

    • Giving personal gifts

    • Displaying sexually suggestive visuals

    • Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements

    • Making facial expressions such as winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips


    • Giving a massage around the neck or shoulders

    • Touching the person's clothing, hair, or body

    • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking

    • Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person

    • Standing close or brushing up against another person

When an employee complains to a supervisor, another employee, or the Human Resources office, about sexual harassment, an immediate investigation of the charge should occur. Supervisors should immediately involve Human Resources staff. Employees need to understand that they have an obligation to report sexual harassment concerns to their supervisor or the Human Resources office.

Human resource managers at Nike ignored (sexual harassment) complaints from women employees for years.

By Alexia Fernández Campbell@AlexiaCampbellalexia@vox.com Apr 30, 2018, EDT

Women working at Nike’s Oregon headquarters had repeatedly complained to human resources managers about demeaning treatment and sexual harassment. They reported male supervisors who called them vulgar names and discussed their bodies, and even one who threw his keys at a subordinate and called her a “stupid bitch.” The women said the complaints to human resources didn’t change anything.

Instead, it took an unofficial internal survey of female employees to get the attention of the athletic apparel company’s top executives, according to a New York Times report, which included interviews with 50 current and former Nike employees.

The report, published Saturday, described a toxic work environment for women, with a boys’ club culture that excluded them from promotions and leadership opportunities. It’s also the latest example of how human resource departments are ill-equipped to investigate discrimination complaints and, in many cases, end up hiding abusive behavior committed by a company’s top executives.

The Times story shows that female employees — alarmed over the departure last year of three high-level female executives — decided to distribute an internal survey to see if women at the company had experienced sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination.

On March 5 2018, the survey ended up in the hands of Nike CEO Mark Parker. Though the details of the survey have not been made public, the allegations were bad enough to trigger an internal investigation and a major shake-up in the company’s top ranks, according to reports in March from the Wall Street Journal. Since then, at least six top male executives have left or said they were planning to leave the company, including the president of the Nike Brand, Trevor Edwards, and Jayme Martin, the general manager of global categories. A spokesperson for Nike downplayed the severity of the allegations against male executives, telling the Times that the problem was limited to a small group of high-level managers who protected each other “and looked the other way.” The Wall Street Journal first reported about the internal survey last month. Female employees began sharing it internally in the summer of 2017, after three female executives left the company and around the time the head of HR, David Ayre, was fired after several internal investigations into complaints about his condescending behavior.

Women who talked to the Times spoke about their frustration with the behavior and a culture that rewarded men over women. The newspaper reviewed a few of the complaints mentioned in the survey. In one instance, a female employee said she complained to HR about a work-related email from her supervisor in which he made a comment about her breasts. The supervisor was given a verbal warning, and the employee continued reporting to him.

In another case, a woman complained that her supervisor had magazines of scantily clad women on his desk even after he was asked to remove them. She reported him to HR and was admonished for not confronting him about it first. At least three women had also complained about one manager, Daniel Tawiah, for allegedly berating them in front of their colleagues. Tawiah was promoted to vice president in 2017 and was among the executives who left suddenly in March. The Times’s story credited a women’s “revolt” at Nike for the remarkable shake-up of the company’s top ranks. But it also prompted some cynicism about the company’s ability to address systemic problems. “Why did it take an anonymous survey to make change?” Amanda Shebiel, a former Nike employee who left in September after five years at the company, told the Times. “Many of my peers and I reported incidences and a culture that were uncomfortable, disturbing, threatening, unfair, gender-biased and sexist — hoping that something would change that would make us believe in Nike again.”