Sexual harassment in the workplace is entirely illegal, but it still takes place on a fairly consistent basis, and all workers need to know how to protect themselves. In part, it is such a problem because many people are afraid to report it, fearing that they’ll lose their jobs if they do. You must know not only your legal rights, but why the harassment occurs and what can be done in advance to keep it from happening.
First, it’s necessary to understand that men may look at a situation or comment differently than women. Studies have shown that sexual advances were flattering to 75 percent of men, while they were offensive to 75 percent of women. Both men and women need to know how to act and how the other gender may take something they feel is harmless.
Additionally, studies have found that a lot of sexual harassment isn’t intentional, with estimates ranging up to 80 percent. Often, the key to stopping it is just telling the person who is taking the inappropriate action to stop. That person may not have realized there was a problem and will sometimes stop immediately. It’s when this behavior continues even after requests to stop that a real problem occurs.
Document the Issues
Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard, St. Louis experienced harassment lawyers will tell you, much sexual harassment is intentional, and it’s often committed by those in power who think that their positions can protect them. One of the best things victims can do is to document the instances of abuse in some way–perhaps by making a video, for example, or keeping a journal. Having proof can be invaluable in court, and telling the other party about the proof can sometimes put an end to the harassment right then.
Turn to Coworkers
Sexual harassment often occurs when a victim is alone with the attacker. It’s best to stay with coworkers whenever possible, even while taking breaks and eating, as this doesn’t give the other person a chance to consider harassing you.
Be Confident and Know Your Rights
It’s important not to let someone walk all over you just because they are a bully and you’re not sure what you can do. Be confident and stand up for yourself. Know your rights and the anti-harassment laws that have been passed in the United States. It can be nerve-wracking to stand up to your boss, but you have legal protections if the law is being broken.