Forget about your job title, industry and company culture for a second. Regardless of who you are, there's always a chance you could be the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
This doesn't mean you should look over your shoulder all day, every day. However, if you have reason to believe you're a victim, it's imperative to take the right steps.
What does sexual harassment at work look like?
Many people struggle to take action because they don't really know if they've been the victim of sexual harassment. Since it's better to be safe than sorry, you should never hesitate to take action. This is better than sitting back and hoping that nothing is going on.
Here are some of the most common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Sexual comments or innuendos
- Making a threat associated with unwanted sexual activity
- Sexually suggestive gestures
- Repeatedly asking a person for a date or to partake in sexual activity
- Touching in any form that's considered sexual
- Spreading sexual rumors about a person, such as that they're sleeping with other employees
- Sending sexually suggestive emails or text messages
- Sexual ridicule
- Sexually charged jokes (even if they aren't meant to be harmful)
- Stalking a coworker
When you look at this list, you may assume that nothing like this could ever happen to you. You may also realize that you've been the victim of sexual harassment in the past, or that it's a problem you're currently facing.
If you're the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, take these steps:
- Tell the person that you want them to stop immediately
- Report the incident to your supervisor and HR department
- Follow up with your supervisor and HR department to ensure that the appropriate action is taken
- Make note of what's happened in the past
- Collect any evidence that backs up your claim of sexual harassment
Even with state and federal laws in place to protect against sexual harassment, it remains a major problem throughout the country.
You don't have to deal with this type of behavior at work. It's your right to take action with the idea of stopping the harassment once and for all. If that doesn't work, you can learn more about your legal rights as an employee.