Despite progress made in recent years toward preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is still a serious problem. If you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment, know that there are options and resources available to help you. If you have been fired or otherwise retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, you may want to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options. This blog post will provide an overview of what sexual harassment is, and how to seek help.
What Is Sexual Harassment In The Workplace?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is an unwelcome form of verbal or physical conduct that occurs based on a person’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. It creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It often takes the form of unwanted advances and comments, such as:
- Demanding dates or sexual favors
- Making obscene gestures and jokes
- Implying derogatory remarks about someone’s sex or orientation
- Displaying offensive images
- Hugging, touching or stroking another against their will
Silence No More: Steps to Take When Facing Sexual Harassment at Work
Harassment, in any form, is never acceptable. Whether it takes the form of words (verbal) that belittle and demean, gestures (non-verbal) that are intimidating and threatening, or physical acts that are unwanted and invasive, harassment has no place in our society. If you’re being sexually harassed in the workplace, it’s important to take immediate action to protect yourself and seek help. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Define Sexual Harassment And Provide Examples
To get the help you need in a sexual harassment case, it is important to properly define and provide examples of what sexual harassment is. In general, this includes unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that occurs in any work-related setting.
This type of behavior may be perpetrated by anyone in the workplace, including employers, supervisors, coworkers, and even customers. You must understand how to identify and differentiate between acceptable behaviors versus those acts that constitute unlawful harassment.
2. Identify The Signs That You Are Being Harassed At Work
These signs could come in different forms, such as making unwanted advances or comments, touching someone without consent, sending inappropriate emails, or displaying offensive pictures or graphic material.
It is necessary to be observant and observe people’s behavior to determine whether there is any form of harassment happening. Taking down evidence like screenshots of inappropriate messages can help you approach relevant authorities if needed.
Being vigilant will allow individuals to take appropriate action when faced with this unfortunate situation.
3. Understand Your Rights As An Employee
It’s important to know your rights so that you can make the best decision possible if you feel sexually harassed while on the job. First, remember that regardless of title or length of tenure, all employees are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and most states have additional guarantees in place.
Not only do these laws cover direct harassment such as assault and derogatory language, but also any actions that create an unwelcoming or hostile work environment.
Whether it be reporting the incident to HR, pursuing legal action, or speaking up directly with the harasser, knowing what you are legally entitled gives you strength in standing up for yourself and advocating for change within your organization.
4. Seek Help From Hr Or A Lawyer
If you are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to seek help from a qualified source. Approach your Human Resources department and make them aware of the situation. It’s important to seek guidance and support from professionals who can offer practical advice on taking action in accordance with local laws and regulations.
Furthermore, if you decide to pursue legal action then speaking with an experienced employment lawyer is recommended to ensure that appropriate protocols are followed. In either case, seeking guidance from experienced professionals can be incredibly beneficial throughout the investigation process of sexual harassment.
5. Create A Support System At Work
Sexual harassment can be a traumatizing experience, and seeking support from trusted family and friends can help you cope with the emotional toll it can take on you. Having a support system to talk to can provide you with a sense of comfort, validation, and empowerment. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to go through this alone, and speaking with your colleagues may provide you with valuable insight into what steps to take next. Reaching out for help can be intimidating, but ultimately it’s invaluable.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can have a profound impact on victims. It is important to be aware of the signs of sexual harassment and understand your rights as an employee. If you believe you are being harassed, it is important to seek help from HR or a seasoned lawyer. You can also file a formal complaint with your employer or union.