Is Sexual Harassment a Silent Epidemic in the Workplace?
New article claims most women don’t report inappropriate behavior
Do most incidents of sexual harassment at work go unreported?
According to a recent article in
The New York Times, many victims of sexual harassment don’t speak up about inappropriate
conduct on the job. There are multiple reasons that people might remain
silent, but most of them have one common denominator: fear.
Victims of sexual harassment may be afraid of:
- Being retaliated against
- Being labeled a whiner
- Facing off against another employee who is powerful or popular
- Not being believed
However, it’s important to know that there’s legal protection
from harassment. In addition, federal law also offers protection from
retaliation after a person has made a sexual harassment complaint.
Let’s talk about what you should know if you’ve been sexually
harassed on the job.
Who is protected from sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment may encompass a wide variety of scenarios.
The first thing to know is that sexual harassment of either employees or
job applicants is illegal under federal law, according to the
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It’s also important to know that victims of sexual harassment may
be male or female. The harasser and victim may be of the opposite sex
or of the same sex.
How sexual harassment looks
Sometimes sexual harassment is obvious, and sometimes it’s not.
Inappropriate touching, lewd or graphic comments, or invitations to perform
sexual acts are pretty blatant examples of harassment. Victims of this
kind of harassment often decide to look for other employment rather than
speak up. Of course, plenty of people just resolve to put up with the
behavior because they need their jobs.
The more-subtle forms of harassment may be harder to pinpoint. That is,
the actions may not be direct come-ons, but may still be enough to make
the victim feel uncomfortable.
Subtle forms of harassment may involve someone continually discussing his
or her sexual exploits, showing a coworker suggestive or pornographic
images, or trying to engage the victim in conversations about sex or anatomy.
Disparaging comments about a specific gender also fall under the sexual-harassment
umbrella. For example, comments such as “All women should be barefoot
and pregnant” may be considered to be harassment under certain circumstances.
Contact us now
Remember, you have the right to be free of sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you’ve been sexually harassed on the job, it’s a good idea
to speak to an attorney about your rights.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.