Sexual harassment can make for a very uncomfortable work situation. Every year job performance and productivity is jeopardized due to sexual harassment. In this article we will discuss what sexual harassment is and what you can do if you feel that you are suffering from sexual harassment.
First of all, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding sexual harassment. We will talk first about how sexual harassment is defined. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors or verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature. When this behavior threatened your position, interferes with performance or creates a hostile work environment then sexual harassment exists.
Does the preparatory have to be of the opposite sex?
Absolutely not, it can occur with women or men across or within gender lines. They do not have to be the opposite sex to you.
Does the perpetrator have to hold a higher position than myself?
No, sexual harassment can come from co-workers, another area supervisor or someone who doesn't even work directly for the company.
What if the victim won't complain but others are bothered by the situation?
If it creates a hostile or unpleasant work environment then others can file for sexual harassment.
Does someone have to be fired for it to be sexual harassment?
No, the threat is enough for it to create tension in the workplace.
Can someone be accused of sexual harassment for making a joke?
Generally no, the behavior must be unwelcome. Everyone is different and has different levels of behavior that they will and will not except. If the joke did offend someone then it is their job to say so.
What can I do if I feel I am being sexually harassed at work?
Your first step is to tell the person that the behavior is unwelcome and art must stop. Do it in front of witnesses. It this doesn't stop the behavior the follow your Employments grievance procedure. They should have one. If they don't then get legal advice.
Sexual harassment is no laughing matter. It threatens people livelihood and affects company productivity. You do not have to be fired or demoted for there to be sexual harassment, only unwelcome behavior and an uncomfortable environment. Sexual harassment is terrible but you don't have to take it sometimes just a waring will be enough to stop the behavior but don't be afraid to take it further. Grievances and legal action may be needed for you to obtain peace in the workplace