Recognizing sexual harassment in the workplace
Workplaces are often hectic places full of employees managing many different matters. Of all of the matters workers have to deal with sexual harassment should not be included. In fact, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, these behaviors are illegal. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently, in work places of all kinds, especially for women.
Sexual harassment can take multiple forms, both physical and verbal, including requests for sexual favors or unwelcome sexual advances. The key is that these activities either create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or in the alternative, unreasonably interfere with the worker’s performance of his or her job.
While women are often the victims of sexual harassment, men could find that they are facing this situation as well. The harasser does not have to be the victim’s supervisor. It could be a co-worker, a supervisor in another area of the business, or an agent of the employer. In some cases the harasser could even be someone who is not employed by the business.
Often the first step in a sexual harassment situation is to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sexual harassment is not the only thing that could prompt legal action by an employee. He or she might also take action if, as a result of reporting the harassment, the worker feels that they are being retaliated against in the workplace.
In either situation, an employee could probably benefit from working with an employment lawyer. That individual could help workers determine if they have a viable claim and what sort of damages they might recover.
Source: EEOC, “Facts About Sexual Harassment,” Accessed Oct. 31, 2014