What You Should Know About Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Law Blog

If you believe that workplace sexual harassment will simply go away on its own, you are likely mistaken. Unfortunately, using humor to deal with it or ignoring the issue won't help. Your days at work may become miserable and you may dread waking into your workplace when you are the target of sexual harassment, but you should know that you can take actions to put a stop to it. If you want to learn more about how to deal with this demoralizing and demeaning situation, read on.

Two Primary Methods of Sexual Harassment

Quid Pro Quo: This Latin term translates roughly to "something for something", and can mean making a deal or trading one item for another. When it comes to sexual harassment, it typically involves a supervisor, either openly or implicitly, asking for sexual favors in return for a reward. These sexual favors can mean anything from a lunch date to sexual acts and the rewards are often work-related, such as raises. For those who refuse the advances, the reward turns into punishments, like being passed over for promotions, heavier work loads, and in some cases, the job itself.

Hostile Work Environment: You know you work in a sexually hostile work environment when you see explicit artwork or calendars decorating the walls or are the recipient of sexually oriented emails. Verbal harassment is common in a hostile work environment, often using "dirty" jokes as a means to embarrass or demean. A hostile work environment can be perpetrated by both supervisors and co-workers. You may also experience repeated requests for dates, sexually related comments on clothing or appearance and crude gestures.

How to Deal

  • Keep a journal and note each incident, the date and your resulting action. This will help you stay organized and may come in handy later if you file suit.
  • Make sure to make your feelings known to the offender, verbally and/or in writing. Surprisingly, some people are unaware that this type of behavior is offensive.
  • Report the offender to your human resources or to a supervisor.

Take it to the Next Level

If you ascertain that your complaints are not helping matters, you may need to take the following steps:

1. Contact your state's employment agency and/or the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and file a formal complaint.

2. Contact an attorney, who can help by sending a letter putting your harassers on notice that you are serious about this issue, assist in filing complaints and represent you in court, if necessary.

Not only does this type of problem seldom go away without taking action, you could be doing harm to your sexual harassment claims by not acting swiftly enough. Don't wait until you are fired to get help, you may appear to be a disgruntled employee. You have the right to earn money without undergoing harassment, so contact an attorney for more information and assistance today.

To learn more, contact a sexual harassment attorney like Davis George Mook


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