Thanks to recent events such as the #metoo movement, you are probably aware of how much sexual harassment occurs in workplaces. That is if it was not already apparent to you.
Few people can now claim to be unaware of what constitutes sexual harassment. Many now realize that things they did ten years ago would land them in trouble if they tried them now. Others realize that they no longer have to accept something that they have put up with for years.
Sexual harassment does not require physical touch
Sexual harassment can take many forms. Ensuring you and your coworkers are aware of all these forms makes it easier to prevent incidents from happening. The more people call out inappropriate behavior, the harder it becomes for a perpetrator to continue harassing people.
Here are some things that are sexual harassment:
- Unwanted touching: Someone brushing up against you as they pass you in the corridor may not be harassment if it happens once and is unintentional. Yet, if they repeat it, it probably is.
- Comments of a sexual nature or about specific body parts: someone saying you look hot in that tight dress is not acceptable. That does not mean they cannot tell you that you look nice, unless, of course, you have asked them not to, or if they repeat it too often and it makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes it is more about the way they say something than the actual words.
- Making something a condition: If your boss is offering you a promotion or opportunity in exchange for sexual favors, you have grounds to claim sexual harassment.
If someone has subjected you to sexual harassment at work, it is crucial to understand the legal options available to make it stop and hold people responsible. Your employer may not be the one harassing you, but they must provide you with a safe working environment, free of harassment or discrimination.