Despite federal and state laws in place to protect against workplace sexual harassment, this remains an issue among many workers throughout the country.
As a victim of sexual harassment, it’s important to take immediate action. Tell the harasser that they need to stop, collect evidence related to the behavior and report it to your supervisor and/or human resources department.
Understanding the two distinct types of workplace sexual harassment will help you protect your legal rights. The two types include:
- Quid pro quo: Defined as a “favor for a favor,” it typically occurs when a person in a position of authority requests a sexual favor or relationship in exchange for a workplace benefit, such as a raise or not terminating their employment.
- Hostile work environment: This form of sexual harassment takes on many forms, such as making sexual jokes, sharing sexual images and text messages, and making threats. For hostile work environment sexual harassment to exist, the behavior must be so pervasive that it results in an offensive atmosphere.
Identify and take action
If you feel that you’re the victim of sexual harassment, you should first identify the type. You may come to find that your situation relates to both quid pro quo and a hostile work environment.
Once you better understand what’s happening, make it clear to the harasser that you are not going to stand for the behavior any longer. It’s your hope that this alone is enough to put an end to the harassment.
This is also a good time to review your employee handbook, while also learning more about federal and state laws in place to protect you.
It’s important to report the incident to your human resources department, as they can take formal action to protect your legal rights. However, keep in mind that your employer may not be on your side, so it’s possible they’ll try to sweep the issue under the rug.
There is no excuse for workplace sexual harassment. If you’re a victim, speak up, protect your legal rights in New Jersey and do whatever you can to ensure that your harasser doesn’t do anything to impact your future employment at the company.