Can sexual harassment happen without physical contact?

Sexual harassment is something that no one should ever have to experience, especially while they are working. Unfortunately, thousands of workers suffer from sexual harassment each year, and countless more may suffer from it without even reporting it.

Many more people may suffer from sexual harassment without realizing what it really is. Sexual harassment can happen to someone without any physical contact ever happening. Recognizing non-physical harassment is the first step in holding harassers accountable, so here are different types of sexual harassment to look out for:

Quid pro quo

Sexual harassment can happen in the form of an exchange offer. Quid pro quo is when an employer or colleague offers workplace favors like a raise, promotion, or other work benefits in exchange for sexual favors, and is certainly sexual harassment.

Unwanted comments

Just because someone claims it is “just a compliment” does not mean that it is not sexual harassment. When someone begins commenting on your appearance, figure, or another form of a sexual comment, they are committing sexual harassment.


Sexual harassment can happen against you even if you are not in the room. An employer or colleague can sexually harass you by sexually speaking about you to other people. Whether they are speculating about sexual activity, discussing your appearance, or anything else that is sexual, it is still harassment.

Hold harassers accountable

If you were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, whether it was physical or not, a skilled attorney could help hold your harasser accountable for their actions. A sexual harassment lawsuit can help you seek justice while also sending a message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, so be sure to take a stand in your harassment claim.