Sexual Harrasment F.A.Q.

If an individual feels at all as though he or she has been a victim of sexual harassment in the work place, it should be reported immediately to a supervisor. Any proof which may help prove the claim should be copied and given to the supervisor as well; the victim should keep the original at all times if possible. If it is supervisor discrimination in the workplace then contact the report the sexual harassment supervisor to his boss or human resources. If you're not sure whether you've been the victim of sexual harassment or not, this FAQ is where to find information on sexual harassment.

1. What Is Sexual Harassment, Exactly?

So what constitutes sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is any type of sexually suggestive or sexually oriented behavior made by an individual which causes pain, fear or other negative feelings and emotions. There are several types of sexual harassment and many behaviors can fall under the category of sexual harassment. Whether these behaviors are directed at you personally or you are a victim of them indirectly, you could have a legitimate case to file sexual harassment complaints. Some of these behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual threats, coercions or pressure.
  • Insinuating that sexual favors must be granted in order for you to keep your job, receive a positive performance review, receive higher pay, etc.
  • Giving or calling someone sexually-demeaning, sexually-oriented or suggestive nicknames.
  • Touching of any kind which makes you feel uncomfortable, including: brushing, patting, squeezing, tickling, etc.
  • Showing pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, cartoons, drawings or other representations.
  • Aggressive sexual advances, threats, insults or other behavior.

If you have been on the receiving end of any of these behaviors or similar behaviors that have made you feel uncomfortable, afraid or upset – you may have a legitimate sexual harassment complaint.

2. What Should an Employee Do If He or She Feels they are a Victim of Sexual Harassment?

If you feel at any way sexually harassed, you should judge the situation. Does the harasser purposefully and knowledgeably harass you? If you don't think it is intentional, you can gauge whether or not to approach the harasser and ask him or her to stop. If the behavior continues, your next action should be to report sexual harassment to your immediate supervisor.

This supervisor should act swiftly to investigate the claim and stop the behavior from happening. If the harassment does not stop, or is coming from your immediate supervisor, you should speak with an authority that is over him or her. If the behavior continues, you may want to seek legal assistance for sexual harassment help to stop the behavior and be compensated for your pain and suffering.

3. What is NOT Considered Illegal or Sexual Harassment?

Although there are a number of things which might make employees feel uncomfortable in their work environment – the edges are fairly well defined as to what is considered sexual harassment and illegal. Some things which may be annoying but do not make up the basis for a sexual harassment suit include but are not limited to:

  • Swearing or crude language that is NOT directed at individuals. For instance, if the person is swearing to himself or herself after making a mistake.
  • Having certain items present in the workplace which may contain mildly-sexual material or even obviously sexual material – as long as they are NOT directed at a particular individual. For instance, in one case, a man took his company to court for telling him that he could not bring a Playboy book to work. Because Playboy contained articles about news, sports, current events and more – to ban the book would have been unconstitutional. Because he didn't show the pictures in a sexual or harassing way, he won that case.
  • Asking someone out on a date. If the recipient of the invitation is only asked once and then left alone upon refusal – it is not considered harassment.

Although allowing behaviors like this at work may reflect poorly upon management or company owners – the behaviors may not be considered sexual harassment. If you think you maight be the victim of sexual harrasment, consult with an attorney immediatley to prevent others from receiving the same treatment.

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