The concept of sexual harassment is a relatively new term that started in the 1960's even though sexual harassment existed way before the term was first used. While thirty years is a relatively short time the topic had drawn a great deal of interest from academic to legal scholars. Many of them believe that sexual harassment is more about power than it is sex.
Sexual harassment is making an unwanted and offensive sexual advances towards another employee or promising promotion or continued employment. It can be verbal including remarks, nicknames, asking personal questions, non-verbal involving photographs, whistling or it can be physical which involves pinching, brushing against them or sexual assault. In all of these cases the attention is not asked for, is not welcomed and the recipient feels less of themselves. Often times the harassment is disguised by jokes or teasing, but it always feels threatening to those on the receiving end. It is possible for harassers to be unaware of their behavior; they may believe that they are just being funny and friendly. However, the important part is how the recipient feels about himself or herself afterwards. .
Much research has been done and it has been found that men and women interpret sexual behavior differently. Women are much more likely than men to label a given situation as harassing. Men report that they would be flattered by sexual harassment at work, while women report that they are annoyed by the same behavior. Researchers are starting to turn from studying sexual harassment as a problem between individuals to a problem with the company. Harassment is more likely to happen in an environment in which employees perceive that management would not take victims seriously or where administrators do not enforce anti sexual harassment policies against offenders. Factors like the status or women in the organization, women in general and the acceptance of non-professional behavior may all contribute to sexual harassment in the workplace.