Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by law. Workplace sexual harassment occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace.
Sexual harassment can create a hostile work environment and is often used as a form of power and control. It can occur between people of the same or different genders.
Table of Contents
- Types of Sexual Harassment
- What Are the Federal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Harassment?
- What Should I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed at Work?
- Final Thought
Types of Sexual Harassment
There are two types of workplace sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo sexual harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an individual’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is used as a basis for employment decisions (such as hiring, firing, promotion, or salary decisions).
Hostile work environment sexual harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment.
What Are the Federal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Harassment?
The federal laws that prohibit sexual harassment are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. These laws prohibit workplace sexual harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, age, and religion.
What Should I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed at Work?
If you are being sexually harassed at work, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and file a complaint.
There are several steps you can take if you’re being sexually harassed at work:
1. Make It Clear It’s Unwelcome
If harassment is happening, it’s important to make it clear that the behavior is unwelcome. Try talking to the person who is harassing you and explain that their behavior is unwelcome and ask them to stop.
This can be done verbally or in writing. For example, you could say, “I don’t like it when you touch me without my consent. Please stop.”
2. Keep a Record of the Harassment
If talking to the harasser does not stop the behavior, it is important to document what happened. Write down the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as a detailed description of what occurred. Save any emails, text messages, or other evidence of the harassment.
It is important to document the behavior you are experiencing. Write down when it happens, what was said or done, and who was present. Keeping a record will help you remember the details of the incidents and will be helpful if you decide to file a complaint.
3. Gather Evidence
In addition to your own documentation, there may be other evidence of sexual harassment. This could include emails, text messages, or recordings of conversations. If you have any physical evidence, such as gifts or notes, keep them in a safe place.
4. Report the Harassment
If you are being sexually harassed, the first thing you should do is tell your supervisor or another manager. Many companies have policies against sexual harassment and will take steps to investigate and stop the behavior. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisor, you can also contact HR.
5. Seek Legal help
If you have been sexually harassed and it is not resolved internally, you may want to consult with an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and can represent you in court if necessary.
6. Make a Change
If you don’t feel safe or comfortable going back to work, you may want to consider finding a new job.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue that can have a lasting impact on your life. If you are being harassed at work, it is important to take action to protect yourself and stop the behavior. For more information, please visit the EEOC website or contact an employment law attorney.