7 Things to Know about Sexual Harassment at Work
#1. IT’S AGAINST THE LAW
It is ILLEGAL to harass or discriminate against a person because of the person’s sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual discrimination.
#2. QUID PRO QUO
There are generally two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. In a quid pro quo sexual harassment situation, an employee is subjected to demands for sexual favors in exchange for some job benefit such as promises of promotion or the ability to keep their job. The employee will be in an inferior power position to the perpetrator.
#3 HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
The more common type of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment where the employee is subjected to various forms of unwanted or unwelcome sexual conduct which can include sexual advances, pornographic materials, sexually suggestive texts or e-mails, sexually graphic language, etc. The harasser can be the victim’s immediate supervisor, a supervisor in a different work location, a co-worker, and even a client or customer of the company.
#4. DOES ALL OFFENSIVE CONDUCT CREATE A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
No, conduct that is not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment will not be a violation of the law. Whether the work environment is a hostile place will be determined by looking at all of the circumstances including the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct.
#5. DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE
If you feel uncomfortable around someone, speaking to them about the situation may help to remedy the situation. They may not have realized that their actions or words were improper. If the person continues the improper conduct, you should begin to keep a log of the conduct and when it occurred. You may need this information later should it become necessary for you to file a complaint, charge of discrimination or lawsuit.
#6. FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY’S COMPLAINT PROCESS
You don’t always have to report the sexual harassment to your boss. He or she may be the one who is sexually harassing you. Good employers will have established procedures for making a complaint. If your company has a complaint process, you should consider following it and keeping a record of your actions.
#7. CONSIDER CONSULTING AN EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY IF THE HARASSMENT CONTINUES
An experienced employment attorney will review your matter with you and if the attorney feels that you have a valid claim, they can help you file a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or with your company. Being a victim of sexual harassment can be very stressful. Having an experienced attorney help you through this process can help reduce the stress and provide you good guidance on how best to proceed.
Employment Lawyer – Cindra Dowd
We at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe have experienced employment attorneys. If you feel that you have been sexually harassed or assaulted at your workplace, call us for a free consultation. We are here to help you.