It's not always easy to pinpoint if you're the victim of workplace sexual harassment. You may have an idea that something is going on but uncertain about whether you should speak up and take action.
If you're a victim of sexual harassment at work, you shouldn't wait a single day to review what happened and to decide on what to do next. The sooner you take action the easier it is to protect yourself and to hold the harasser responsible for their behavior.
Certainly, sexual harassment may often be sparked by desire or the wish for a romantic relationship. In many cases, people who are in positions of power see opportunities to take advantage of those under them, knowing that employees fear losing their jobs and want to make their supervisors happy.
The #MeToo movement gave many people a voice to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse. These topics are often emotionally difficult for people to talk about on their own. The momentum of hearing other stories helped people come forward.
Many workplaces have a fairly casual environment. Workers become friends. They talk about things that do not pertain to their jobs. They make jokes and get into personal subjects.
Sometimes, when you experience an uncomfortable situation in your workplace, it is not always easy to know if it qualifies as sexual harassment. This is particularly true when it comes to humor in the workplace, which may take many forms depending on your chosen profession, your coworkers and the culture of your workplace. Practically speaking, it is not always possible to win a sexual harassment claim based on an offensive humorous interaction, so you must carefully examine the elements of the experience.
The last several months have seen a sudden and surprising sea change in the public conversation surrounding sexual harassment in many different work environments and professional settings. Understandably, this has lead to great confusion for many individuals who may believe that they too experience sexual harassment in the workplace but don't know how to address it correctly. Still others may remain unclear on whether or not some particular behavior actually counts as legally actionable sexual harassment or is merely a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of other behavior.
It is not difficult to find questionable, or even insulting advice online about how to avoid being accused of sexual harassment. The notion that someone can find themselves the "accidental" perpetrator of harassment is ridiculous. It is not a fine line between appropriate interactions and sexual harassment. Harassment is unquestionably disgusting behavior and the individuals who perpetrate it, as well as employers who tolerate it are clearly in the wrong.
If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, you have some very important decisions to make about how you respond. Your first step is to alert your employer to the harassment, which, a perfect world would be the end of the matter. Unfortunately, there is often much more to this particular fight, and many cases of sexual harassment in the workplace lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit. Before you decide to dig in with a sexual harassment suit, it is wise to understand what you can expect.
Now that Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, the summer season is unofficially over. But if you happened to attend any work-sponsored social events this summer -- especially any that involved alcohol -- the drama of summer may be far from over.