While many people are familiar with sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to understand that it’s a form of discrimination. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to know that sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The law prohibits any type of sexual or gender-based harassment from occurring in any work environment.
This can include verbal comments, physical contact (including touching), and visual conduct that creates an intimidating or hostile work environment for an employee because he or she belongs to a protected class (like race or sex).
Additionally, this type of behaviour does not need to be directed at one particular person; if several employees feel uncomfortable working around certain individuals because they make inappropriate comments about their bodies or genders/sexuality, then this would also be considered sexual harassment.
Lastly, you might find yourself asking: “Is there such thing as same-sex sexual harassment?” Yes! As mentioned above, gender-based harassment is included under Title VII protections against employment discrimination based on sex. Similarly, Title VII protects lesbians/gay men against workplace discrimination based on their sexuality. Also, there are other federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on religion and national origin, among other protected characteristics.
Harassment in the workplace is a very sensitive topic, and people often want to avoid the matter altogether, but the fact is that it has a very negative impact on the workplace. Not only will employees often never say a word, but they’ll also often just quit, reducing employee retention. Not to mention, a reputation for harassment means your business will not thrive.
To mitigate any chance of sexual harassment in the workplace, many firms insist on harassment training where employees are taught to respect and communicate appropriately with one another. But as important as that is, identifying workplace harassment is just as crucial.
How does Sexual Harassment Negatively Affect the Workplace?
Sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment. When you are the victim of sexual harassment, it can affect your productivity and your ability to do your job. You may feel embarrassed and ashamed when this happens at work, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety.
This can also lead to absenteeism from work because you may not want to go into an environment where you know someone has sexually harassed you in the past. If this problem continues for too long, it is possible that your employer could decide that it’s better for them if they let you go instead of dealing with a hostile workplace situation any longer.
Sexual Harassment is Against the Law
You may think that sexual harassment is just a joke, but in fact, it’s against the law. In the United States, sexual harassment is illegal under federal law and state laws as well. Federal law prohibits sexual harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
State laws also prohibit sexual harassment in addition to other types of discrimination like age discrimination or disability discrimination that may occur at work or school settings such as universities and colleges.
Sexual harassment laws prohibit any unwelcome conduct based on sex that creates an intimidating, hostile environment or results in adverse employment decisions, including termination or demotion.
The Harasser Can Be Anyone, Including Supervisors and Managers
The harasser can be anyone, including supervisors and managers. The victim does not have to be the person harassed. Victimhood in sexual harassment could extend to anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Harassment can take many forms, including verbal harassment (comments), physical harassment (touching), and visual harassment (print materials).
Sexual Harassment Doesn’t Have to Be Blatant
While sexual harassment is often thought of in terms of a boss asking an employee to come over and watch pornography, it’s important to note that harassment doesn’t always take this form. In fact, it can be more subtle than you might think. Sexual harassment can be direct or indirect, verbal, physical, or visual. It can even happen between people who know each other well but don’t have any formal power relationship, like between friends.
Sexual harassment occurs when someone is differently treated because they are a member of a certain gender or sexual orientation; when someone makes unwanted comments about your appearance or body; when someone touches you inappropriately without your consent; when jokes about sex are made by your supervisor with other employees present; when someone sends you sexually suggestive emails at work.
Watch for Patterns of Behavior
Sexual harassment can occur in many forms, and it’s important to understand how to identify it. As with any type of discrimination, the harasser can be anyone—a coworker, supervisor, or manager.
It is possible that one instance of sexual harassment might be an isolated incident. However, if you observe a pattern of behavior from someone with authority over you (such as a supervisor or manager), this could indicate that your workplace environment is hostile and uncomfortable for females.
If you feel like this person’s actions are contributing to an overall negative atmosphere at work or causing problems for other employees as well as yourself, there are steps you can take to address these concerns without risking retaliation from management.
Sexual Harassment Can Occur Once
It’s important to remember that sexual harassment can occur once, and it doesn’t have to be repeated. You may think you are overreacting if you are offended by a one-time incident, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the person who is harassing could be someone you know or even like very much on a personal level. If someone makes a joke about your body or sexuality, for example, it’s still harassment even though they may not mean any harm by their comment.
Spread the Word About Your Right to a Workplace Free of Sexual Harassment.
If you experience sexual harassment, do not just brush it off. Tell someone. Tell your supervisor or human resources department. You can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Don’t be afraid to speak out about your right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, even if that means putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation for other people to hear about it.
The worst thing that could happen is that the person harassing you gets called out for their behavior and stops doing so in the future! This can only potentially help you in the long term. Reporting sexual harassment is not enough; you need to follow up on reporting it too!
Sexual Harassment at Work Is Against the Law and Should Not Be Tolerated
Sexual harassment at work is against the law and should not be tolerated. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” when that conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment or affects the employment opportunities of employees.
It’s important to remember that even if your boss wasn’t trying to offend you with their actions or words, they still have crossed a line by making you uncomfortable in any way. If this happens at work, report it immediately! You have every right not to be harassed by your employer, and it’s important that you speak up if anything makes you feel uncomfortable while on the job.
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