Countless numbers of men and women experience sexual harassment in the workplace every year. What’s more shocking than the number of people who experience it is how many people think there is nothing they can do.
Especially nowadays, sexual harassment is nothing to scoff at. We no longer have to put up with the mistreatment that was the “norm” for our grandparents in any work setting. Learning a bit of what sexual harassment is and how to handle it might set you up for compensation you did not know you had.
What constitutes sexual harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is an umbrella term that encompasses discrimination or abuse someone experiences due to their sex. These include various things such as another employee (or supervisor) requesting sexual acts, making crude comments, or pushing unwelcome sexual advances.
Aside from perverted comments, this harassment may encompass comments or “jokes” regarding someone’s sex. For example, you can’t tell your female employee at a tech company to “get in the kitchen where she belongs” or tell a male coworker to “act like a man.”
While many cases involve women being the victims, men (or non-binary individuals) may also face this harassment. It’s also important to highlight that, yes, you can receive sexual harassment from someone of the same sex as you.
Events fall under three categories:
- Verbal Harassment: As the name suggests, these instances of sexual harassment refer to direct confrontation where the perpetrator directly says something. These attacks may be in the form of direct insult or a joke.
- Non-Verbal Harassment: Less obvious instances of sexual harassment include indirect actions which “punish” an individual due to their sex. These cases include events of purposely alienating or cutting the hours of an employee due to their sex alone. Just because someone denied another coworker, a date does not mean that they have to suffer.
- Physical Harassment: Some extreme cases involve direct assault. Actions like “playfully” smacking coworkers or giving uncomfortable massages are not something the modern office tolerates.
Can you sue for sexual harassment?
Not only are they something to call HR about, but they may be something you can sue someone over. Sexual harassment is illegal, and workplaces should not tolerate episodes at all!
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