Sexual harassment is a serious issue that should never be taken lightly by you, the victim, or your employer. You have a right to work in a safe environment, free from any type of harassment and this includes sexual harassment. There’s no reason you should be subjected to unwanted touching, inappropriate comments, explicit pictures or unwanted sexual advances. Sexual harassment can wind up leading to a hostile work environment in New Jersey.
When sexual harassment occurs at work, it is important that you report it immediately. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that one in three women face sexual harassment at work and that 70 percent of women have not reported their incidents involving sexual harassment. Reporting sexual harassment is protected under whistleblower laws, which means you cannot be fired or demoted for doing so.
The more often sexual harassment occurs at your workplace and you do not report it, the likelier it is that you will be working in a hostile environment. What is a hostile work environment? This is an environment in which you are uncomfortable because of the actions or inaction of another person in the workplace.
Even though it shouldn’t be your responsibility to prevent a hostile work environment, you can help do so by reporting incidents of sexual harassment you encounter. The more incidents you report, the less likely it will be that the workplace will become hostile.
As you can see, a hostile work environment can easily grow out of repeated sexual harassment claims made by employees. Make sure you understand the policies put forth by your company and file complaints with human resources as soon as incidents occur.