Whether you are in a place of learning or earning, you should feel comfortable staying there. The problem is that sexual harassment in the workplace is very common, with around 81% of the claims being filed by women.
The bigger problem here is that 90% of those sexual harassment cases go unreported, mainly because people underestimate the signs. It is important that you pay attention and that you make a report if the situation does not stop. Here is a guide on how to recognize sexual harassment and how to make things better for you.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment is an act that is illegal by the clauses of the Civil Rights Act – specifically, Title VII. This law applies to employers that have 15 or more employees, outlawing different types of sexual harassment. This can include:
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo occurs when someone in a higher position requests sexual favors in exchange for various benefits. For example, they may offer a promotion in exchange for engaging in sexual activities with them. Quid pro quo may also happen when a supervisor asks for sexual favors in exchange for the victim keeping their job.
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment happens when an employee is subjected to unwanted verbal/physical behavior of sexual connotation. This type of behavior is so pervasive and severe that it affects the employee’s ability to work efficiently. It can apply to co-workers, as well as people of higher rank in the working environment.
Quid pro quo is a relatively straightforward process, where proof may be obtained slightly easier. In California, you may need to provide standard documents and recordings aside from the claim, especially if things go past mere harassment. It is important that you look up a good sexual abuse lawyer in California, as they may be more familiar with the procedure.
What Are Some Sexual Harassment Examples?
To recognize sexual harassment, you need to know how it manifests. In general, as long as the other person’s inappropriate behavior is making you feel uncomfortable, it can be considered harassment. Here are some examples of sexual harassment you may want to keep in mind:
- Making the conditions of promotions or employment dependent upon sexual favors (whether implicit or explicit)
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for other advantages
- Getting physical with the intention of potential sexual assault
- Unwanted physical contact or touching
- Verbal harassment of sexual nature, including jokes about sex acts or sexual orientation
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Feeling pressurized to offer sex benefits to someone
- Exposing oneself at the workplace or performing sexual acts on themselves
- Unwanted photos, emails, or sexually explicit texts
- Lewd comments about someone’s physique, no matter if they are written or spoken
Everyone has the right to work in a tranquil work environment, without being exposed to sexual harassment. If you recognize the signs of sexual harassment, you must take action as soon as possible. Sexual harassment is seen as a form of workplace discrimination, and it has to be fixed.
Other Sexual Harassment Facts
Very often, sexual harassment claims go unnoticed because people are unaware of the clauses of Title VII. Here are some facts on sexual harassment that you should know:
- Sexist comments can also be dubbed sexual harassment. For instance, women being told to be more “feminine” or having their work sabotaged by male coworkers may be filed under sexual harassment.
- Sexual harassment by clients is also illegal. Employers should protect their employees from being harassed by outsiders.
- Sexual harassment can apply to men and women alike. It doesn’t know gender, and just because you’re a man, it doesn’t mean you should be treated unfairly.
If you believe you are being sexually harassed, you should make sure to talk things over with your attorney.
What Is the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?
Sexual harassment and assault are frequently confused with one another, but they are two different things. Sexual harassment is when you receive unwanted physical and verbal attention from a person, but they do not necessarily act on it. Aside from some unwanted touching, sexual harassment does not pass the boundaries of an attack. While it violates civil laws, it does not double as a criminal act.
On the other hand, sexual assault violates those boundaries. This includes rape or attempted rape, where the perpetrator goes part simple innuendos and tries to force the person to engage in sexual contact. If the assault involves penetration or forced sexual context, then it is regarded as criminal assault.
Sexual harassment can make your work or educational activity very difficult. If you believe you are being sexually harassed, make sure to hire a good lawyer.