Sexual harassment occurs in places where it is tolerated. An environment where such behaviors are allowed to continue unchecked is ripe for abuse, harassment and discrimination. Often times, the individual who is harassed may not even be certain that he or she is being harassed in the workplace because the employee may have been putting up with such behaviors for a long period of time.
So, how do you know that you are being sexually harassed at work? Here are a few indicators.
Red Flag #1: Sexual Behavior at Work is Making You Feel Uncomfortable
Such behavior could range from sexual comments or requests you find unwanted or offensive and inappropriate touching. There are many examples of such actions. You may feel uncomfortable when someone corners you in a tight space, asks you about your love life or sexual experiences, subjects you to hearing about their sexual experiences, keeps asking you to go out on a date with them or shows you pornographic materials.
In such situations, it is important that you trust your instincts. If it feels uncomfortable and inappropriate to you, it is highly likely that you are being sexually harassed.
Red Flag #2: Inability to Stop the Behavior
If you have tried a number of ways to discourage such behavior or have even candidly stated that you want it to stop, but it continues, then it is a clear indicator that you are being sexually harassed. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that simple teasing, off-hand comments or isolated incidents, which are not serious or criminal, may not qualify as sexual harassment.
However, when these incidents become frequent or severe and the behavior creates a hostile work environment, it is unlawful.
Red Flag #3: You Fear Retaliation
You may not have enough information or the appropriate channels to report sexual harassment in the workplace. You may also feel embarrassed or fear that your employer may not believe you. In addition, if you've seen colleagues get put down or suffer negative repercussions as a result of speaking up, that may be another red flag.
You may fear retaliation and that is a clear sign not only that the harassment is serious, but also that you are in a toxic, unhealthy and hostile work environment.
Red Flag #4: Your Gender Is Holding You Back
Sexual harassment is not only harassment of a sexual nature, but also discrimination based on gender. For example, if you are being demoted, passed over for opportunities or promotions because of your gender, such behavior could also be considered sexual harassment.
If you believe you are experiencing sexual harassment, it is important that you contact an experienced workplace sexual harassment lawyer who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights. Call Kingsley & Kingsley at (818) 990-8300 to find out how we can help you.