Every employee should feel comfortable in their workplace. If you think you are being sexually harassed, you can report the harassment to the authorities at work and even sue.
Sexual harassment can occur blandly, like direct sexual advances or other subtle forms. Subtle harassment may look like victims receiving unwelcome sexually-charged comments, late-night images, texts, or getting invited to meetings that turn into dates. It’s essential to be informed on exactly what counts as harassment.
Read on to learn when to consult with a sexual harassment lawyer near me.
Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual advances, solicitation for sexual favors, and any other physical; or verbal harassment of sexual nature in the workplace. Harassment at work may present in the following ways.
- Quid Pro Quo
This occurs when a person in an authoritative position over another, indirectly or directly, demands sexual favors for another benefit or detriment. For instance, a manager demands sexual favors from an employee to give them a promotion or with a threat of losing their job.
- A Hostile Work Environment
This is when an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual, verbal, or physical conduct so pervasive or severe that it alters their working conditions or creates an abusive environment.
While the quid pro quo form of harassment is somewhat straightforward, the hostile environment claims are often harder to identify since employees cannot quantify how much such behavior will qualify as harassment.
The best way to determine this is by consulting a sexual harassment lawyer near me.
The most known form of sexual abuse in the workplace is physical. Any unwanted physical interaction that makes you uncomfortable can be considered sexual harassment. Hugs, rubbing, pinching, and massages can be sexual harassment.
The following are other forms of sexual harassment that may occur in the workplace.
Contrary to many opinions, sexual harassment is exclusive to physical contact. The following are forms of verbal harassment:
- Inappropriate sexual jokes
- Catcalling and whistling at an employee
- Making sexual innuendos
- Repeatedly asking uninterested persons on dates
- Referring to adults as babe, hunk, honey, doll, and any other unprofessional endearment term
- Sexualizing work discussions
- Telling sexual stories or jokes
Sexual harassment in the workplace is also prevalent through digital communication. Multiple workplaces today require close communication between their employees via text or email. Professional standards on verbal communication also extend electronic communication.
Sexual videos or pictures, links to sexually suggestive sites, and anything ranging from a joke to total pornography count as sexual harassment. Share such communication with a sexual harassment lawyer near me to consult on their nature.
Non-verbal behavior and gestures can also cross the professional line and become sexual harassment. Any form of non-verbal behavior that is perceived as sexual can be sexual harassment and a reason to speak to a sexual harassment lawyer near me.
Displaying sexually suggestive visuals, and suggestive expressions like licking lips, throwing kisses, winking, or making gestures through body movements are common examples.
You have a right to enjoy a peaceful work environment without sexual advancement. Due to the power dynamics involved, it’s normal to fear making the report. However, the law has provided many avenues to shield victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are being harassed, ask an attorney for advice on where to start.