Know Your Rights at Work: Sexual Harassment
Sexually Harassed At Work? Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Facts About Sexual Harassment Law
Getting sexually harassed in the workplace is a traumatizing, stressful, and humiliating experience for a harassed employee. It is even more so if the acts of harassment are done repeatedly and unreasonably interrupts one’s performance at work, resulting in a working environment that is both hostile and abusive.
As it is, this employment issue involves any unwelcome behavior that is sexual in nature done towards an individual who happens to be within the confines of the workplace.
While sexual harassment is often associated with a male employee sexually harassing a female employee, there are also instances wherein the harasser is a female and the harassed is the male, or that the harasser and the harassed are of the same sex.
most common forms of sexual harassment in the workplace
The common type of sexual harassment in the workplace involves the harasser, typically a manager, supervisor, or anyone with high stature in the company’s organization, offering job advancements to the harassed. It could be a raise, a promotion, or a better job assignment.
Before the sexual demand, the harasser would first have “friendly” conversations with him or her in order to establish intimacy. Then, the harasser would demand him or her to engage in sexual activity in exchange for any of the job advancements.
Oftentimes, the harasser would also threaten towards the victim that not giving in to his or her sexual demands would mean facing an adverse employment decision, like demotion, salary deductions, and possibly termination. This form of sexual harassment is called “quid pro quo,” which means “this for that.”
A sexual harassment lawyer also cites another type of sexual harassment, which basically promotes a hostile working environment. The quid pro quo type may fall under this category, but this involves the harasser making unnecessary verbal and/or non-verbal conduct with the harassed in a sexually suggestive or invasive manner.
The working environment becomes hostile and abusive if the harasser does any of them repeatedly in an effort to disrupt the harassed victim and his or her work.
Examples of actions that are verbal or non-verbal in nature include jokes, comments, questions, sounds, gestures and glares. Even unwanted touching and display of digital or print materials also fall under this category.
Meanwhile, if you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, it is important that you act right away so as not to worsen the situation and turn your workplace into a hostile one.
An employment lawyer provides details on what you can do:
- Before you think of quitting your job, make sure that you first report the incident with your human resources (HR) department. This is one of the first steps that you need to take to ensure that the situation in the workplace is addressed. Know beforehand the process by looking at your employment handbook. If your company has a policy against sexual harassment, you must use it to your advantage.
- The complaint should detail the sexual harassment, inclusive of dates, circumstances, locations, and other people involved. It must determine what type of sexual harassment you were subjected to.
- Let the HR or anyone responsible for addressing such complaints go over your complaint. If neither were able to take action of the situation, then it is imperative that you file a claim with the help of a federal and/or state employment agency, or consult a sexual harassment attorney.
Asserting your rights as an employee is important, especially when facing a daunting life event like sexual harassment. In stressful situations like this, you must know that you are protected by the prevailing employment and labor laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace.
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