What constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace?

Sexual harassment is unfortunately common in workplaces and offices across the United States. While sexual harassment has existed in American work environments since the beginning, the country has come a long way in recognizing it as a problem and passing laws to protect potential, current and past victims.

 

The government defines the term of sexual harassment as being unsolicited or unwanted sexual or romantic advances made towards one or more individuals in which the victims' ability to perform their job is hindered as a result of those advances. If those advances create a work environment that is uncomfortable, hostile, or even offensive, then that behavior would also be considered as sexual harassment.

When offensive sexual comments, flirtations, requests for dates, or sexual innuendos are made by one employee or employer towards another employee, it can have tremendous negative effects on that employee. Not only could it make them feel uncomfortable or fearful about facing repercussions for denying those advances, but it can truly interfere with their ability to perform their job to the best of their ability. That difference in performance could lead to citations, demotions, or even termination if their supervisor is unaware of the sexual harassment taking place.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the first thing that you need to understand is that it is not your fault and you are not responsible for the unethical actions of your boss or co-worker. No one has the right to make you feel afraid or uncomfortable at work whether it be through sexual harassment or via any type of discrimination. If you are currently being harassed, or have been in the past, the first thing you need to do is speak up. You may wish to try speaking with a supervisor first to alleviate the situation. However, if the aggressor is your boss or you get no resolution, it is time to hire a qualified lawyer.

Filing a sexual harassment claim is the best way to protect yourself and your job. If you have already been terminated or punished at work as a result of sexual harassment, then you may be entitled to certain damages you have suffered as a result. An attorney can provide you with a consultation to go over your case with you and help you to identify which behaviors or actions were inappropriate or illegal.

 

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