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What is sexual harassment & what to do about it in the workplace?

Sexual harassment defined & what to do

Your place of work is somewhere you should feel safe. However, the reality of the situation is that many people don’t feel comfortable in their workplace. Sadly, hundreds of people every year admit to suffering from some kind of sexual harassment in the workplace. Moreover, thousands more are too afraid to speak up, so the real figure is unknown and probably much higher.

Examples of workplace sexual harassment

People often think that sexual harassment in the workplace only occurs from the top down. Although hierarchies of power tend to play a part in many of sexual harassment cases, you could suffer unwanted advances from colleagues or even customers.

Before diving into what to do about sexual harassment, let’s look at some relevant examples of it in the workplace:

  • Sexual remarks about someone’s clothing or appearance
  • Flirting or suggestive gesturing
  • Sexually offensive jokes
  • Asking intrusive questions regarding someone’s sex life
  • Displaying or sharing pornographic content
  • Touching someone without consent
  • Rape or sexual assault

Evaluate your situation

Before you notify the company, make sure to evaluate your situation thoroughly. Ask yourself whether this person has made you feel uncomfortable and, if so, when and how did they do this. It can be worthwhile to write down all the details so you won’t forget anything.

In less serious cases, you could ask your co-worker to stop making inappropriate jokes and express how they make you feel uncomfortable. However, this is highly dependent on the severity of the situation. Nevertheless, you should never do this if you feel unsafe approaching the individual.

Follow your company protocol

If you’ve evaluated the situation and can confirm that sexual harassment is occurring, you must immediately contact a superior and make a formal complaint. Different organizations will have different procedures, so ask a manager what the best way to proceed is.

Make sure to get a copy of your complaint in writing. Doing so will prove that your employer received notice of the sexual harassment.

Contact a lawyer

Finally, if you think you do have a potential sexual harassment case, contact a group of lawyers, such as HKM Employment Attorneys. The experienced team will help you put the pieces of your claim together and be by your side.

Make sure you act quickly, as you could lose the case if you don’t file a claim within the advised time frame. Many lawyers will offer a free initial consultation session to help determine whether you have a case or not. They will then advise how to proceed legally if you want to do so.

Report sexual harassment in the workplace and anywhere else

Reporting any incident of sexual harassment is essential, no matter how large or small the severity of the case. Failing to report these kinds of actions could lead to bigger problems down the line.

Although dealing with the nuances of sexual harassment in the workplace can be both triggering and tiring, it’s important to do so no matter what. Your experience could help prevent further instances from occurring in the future. You could help others. And you don’t deserve this treatment.

2 thoughts on “What is sexual harassment & what to do about it in the workplace?”

  1. A very insightful content. Everyone should know this. Most of the time it goes unreported. Just because of fear or shame. Or scared to lose the job which is important to survive etc. This information can create confidence, encourage and strength in them to approach to the concerned person. Nicely put up Christy.

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