Though #MeToo created awareness, yet the problem of workplace sexual harassment is unlikely to go away altogether. According to Gartner, about 60% of all workplace harassment is never reported. When the wrongdoer is a boss, an employee may feel trapped, unsure of what to do, and fearful of losing their job.
Supervisors and managers have a lot of authority over their subordinates, and they may use it to make life miserable for them. Employees fear that speaking out would result in demotions, firings, retribution, and other forms of retaliatory action and that the abusive behavior will continue and escalate quicker than they expect.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment takes on many forms, and it’s common for these unpleasant actions to be misconstrued as rude jokes or harmless flirtation. A manager can embarrass or humiliate another employee by making obscene remarks, sending pornographic emails, or touching the person repeatedly. At office parties and on business trips, sexual harassment is also frequent.
This can cause worry, depression, sleep problems, and tension in the victim, as well as lower their self-esteem and make them doubt their value. Sexual harassment may make it difficult for the victim to show up for work and also hamper their performance. When you are reading this, we can assume your concern. If you are facing harassment in Silver Spring, talking to lawyers from reputed firms like Smithey Law Group LLC may help you.
Types Of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment may be classified into two types:
- Quid pro quo
- Hostile working circumstances
Quid pro quo might be implicit, and it can be seen as discriminatory.
Here are a few examples of how this may appear at work:
- Unwanted, unwelcome sexual harassment is experienced by an employee, such as requests for sexual favors or sexual advances.
- The harasser is either a coworker of the company or a senior.
- Agreeing or failing to protest against the harasser is a precondition for receiving work perks.
- The harassment causes harm to the employee.
What distinguishes a hostile work atmosphere from that mentioned above?
An employee experiences unwanted sexual harassment. The harassment is serious enough to have an impact on the employee’s working environment. These two classes can sometimes overlap.
A supervisor refusing to promote an employee until the person has sex with him or her, or terminating an employee who refuses to fall for such activities, are both examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Hostile work settings may involve frequent, persistent actions such as pinching, unsolicited sexual remarks, or vulgar gestures in addition to the so-called favor for success element.
What Should I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed?
The first thing which you should do is make an attempt to stop the sexual harassment, thus communicating with the manager directly may be helpful. It’s critical to maintain as much calm as possible throughout the dialogue, without making any severe private or public allegations. The boss may not know how hurtful their acts are and be receptive to the employee’s viewpoint. Your organization may come with strategies to make the workplace more pleasant.
Anyway, it is always better to be cautious before you deal with them directly without preparation. Here are some measures that you can take before you approach your organization seniors.
Steps To Follow Before Talking To Your Organisation
- Keep a record of threats that you receive due to refusing any wrong offers in return for sexual favors. Keep track of witnesses and the time, place, and date of the untoward situation.
- Make a note of any signs of a hostile environment. This may include derogatory remarks about one gender’s inferiority or sexually explicit dialogue.
- Keep your notes out of sight and out of reach of your coworkers. This documentation should not be kept in a place where your employer or coworkers may attempt to view it or tamper with it.
- You can keep emails, messages, or presents as evidence. Take screenshots of messages and print them outside your office if you fear doing the same indoors may harm you.
What If The Harassment Doesn’t Subside?
If the situation goes on worsening, you cannot ignore or stay calm. If you are a member of a union, the harassment can be reported to a union representative, and they can submit a formal grievance. If the harassment falls under discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or to an employment agency in your state.
What To Do If My Harasser Is A Female?
The #MeToo movement brought to light that a sexual harasser can be a woman as well. There was a controversy surrounding a female congressional candidate who worked for a private corporation some years ago. She was alleged to sexually harass a male subordinate and that she had retaliated when he turned down her approaches.
This unfortunate incident occurred during a business trip, and he was fired with the blame of bad performance. He contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which launched an inquiry. They were unable to determine whether Title VII had been violated, but they provided the employee with the opportunity to sue. Though the candidate’s firm was named as a defendant in the federal complaint, she denied it and the organization ended up settling with the harassed victim.
Should I File a Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment?
This is a good option in many situations, but there are statutes of limitations that apply based on federal laws, state laws, and the type of harassment faced. The EEOC requires claims to be submitted within 180 days of the discrimination or sexual harassment, which can be extended to 300 days in certain circumstances.
Sexual harassment can become a criminal offense if the preparator does physical harm. Under some jurisdictions, even constantly patting another employee’s back is considered as unwelcome sexual physical touch to be an offense.
Sexual harassment in-home or workplace is unacceptable. If you have taken the right steps without success, you have to finally contact an experienced and empathetic lawyer in your locality.