Are you being given a hard time at work because of your gender? Or, do you feel as though you are not given the respect due in the workplace because of your sexual orientation and gender identity?
Sexual Harassment: A Comprehensive Definition
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that it is “unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.”
The same article goes onto state that “harassment can include… unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
As highlighted by the Hartford, CT sexual harassment lawyer, there is a subtle difference between teasing and sexual harassment. While simple teasing is legal, it becomes harassment when the underhanded comments become so severe that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment.
It is also important to note that the victim and the harasser can be male or female, or they can be the same sex.
Ways To Survive A Hostile Work Environment
It is essential to note that, if you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you must not remain a victim. Therefore, here are several steps to help you empower yourself and deal with the situation.
Do Not Ignore The Harassment
It’s important not to ignore the problem. As noted by workharassment.net, “studies show that individuals who sexually harass other people at work do not stop simply because their victim does nothing.”
In many instances, ignoring the problem exacerbates it rather than reduces it. It is not comfortable talking about sexual harassment, but if you do so, you will find that other employees are also experiencing the same problems. And together you can empower yourselves and speak up.
Make It Known That You Find This Behavior Offensive
Perpetrators of sexual harassment can, and will argue, that the victims enjoy the attention if nothing has been said and done about the harassment. And, in the odd case, the harasser might not be aware that their behavior is inappropriate. Consequently, it is essential to highlight the fact that you find such behavior offensive.
Report The Conduct
It is vital to report the behavior to management for several different reasons. Here are two of the most important reasons:
- It gives your employer the opportunity to deal with the issue and correct the problem.
- And, if the harassment does not stop, you have a record that your employer has been made aware of the problem.
Unfortunately, fear of retaliation by the harasser is not considered a valid reason for not reporting the issue. And, once you’ve reported the matter, you will have to cooperate with the employer when an internal investigation is conducted.
Seek Legal Advice
Finally, if your employer has been alerted to the harassment, and either does nothing about it, or the harassment does not stop, the next step is to consult with a specialist lawyer who is skilled at unpacking the Civil Rights Act. Even though your intention is not to sue your employer, it is still a good idea to discuss your legal options should this behavior continue to escalate.