The Difference Between Flirting and Harassment


Harassment is a course of conduct or pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose. That doesn’t mean it has to be mutual, one-sided, or involve someone you know.

A one-time remark can be harassment, as can physical contact. Particularly if it’s inappropriate and unwelcome. Often, law firms have specific branches specializing in sexual harassment.

The Difference Between Flirting and Harassment

Harassment is often sexual in nature (though not always), but the law is broad enough to prohibit all sorts of harassing behavior — even if it has nothing to do with sex.

So, what is the difference between flirting and harassment? For starters, consent. If one party doesn’t want the attention and makes that clear, it’s harassment. If both parties are into it, it’s flirting.

Flirting vs. harassment: Things to keep in mind

Flirting is a dance, a game of give-and-take and spark. Harassment is an aggressive, angry attack.

Flirting happens between two people who are enjoying each other’s company. They are feeling good in each other’s presence and are open to taking the flirting further to see what happens next. And both parties know that if things don’t work out, it is no big deal because there was no commitment or promise made.

Harassment is about someone who has power (usually a man) over someone else (usually a woman) and abuses that power to get something for himself. The “something” can be physical, such as sex or power or money; or it can be psychological, such as intimidation or control.

To the harasser, his victim is not a person but an object to be used and discarded when he is done with it. An NYC sexual harassment lawyer can help you better determine where you stand in regards to the law.

What is the line and how is it crossed?

Flirting is the way we let someone know we’re interested in them. It’s a way to feel someone out and see if they feel the same way. Flirting can be playful, sexual, suggestive, platonic, or more; it’s a way to develop chemistry with someone and show interest.

Harassment is an unwanted flirtation that makes you uncomfortable or scares you. Talk to lawyers or a known attorney if you are confused.

It can be physical (like a threatening hand on your arm) or verbal (like “nice ass” shouted at you from across the street). Harassment is relentless and unwanted, like a stalker who won’t take no for an answer or a co-worker who keeps making innuendos even after you’ve asked them to stop.

When flirting becomes harassment, it crosses the line. The person being harassed often feels powerless because they don’t want to say something that might escalate the situation. Remember: if it feels wrong, it probably is wrong! It’s OK to tell someone to get lost when they’re flirting with you in an inappropriate way. And if flirting gets out of hand, tell someone else about it — like a manager or HR person at work or your parents or friends outside of work.

In conclusion

Here at NYC Injury Attorneys P.C., we specialize in sexual harassment cases. Getting an NYC sexual harassment lawyer from our law firm ensures a good court session where no stone is left unturned. Use our expertise today by getting in touch.


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