Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ensures that all Americans are protected against sexual harassment in the workplace. Although the recent #MeToo movement in 2017 made it easier for the victims of workplace sexual harassment to come forward, however, too many people are still afraid to speak up when their employers and colleagues are harassing them.
By helping you identify a hostile work environment, our team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP may be able to help you seek relief through a civil lawsuit for sexual harassment. It’s our goal to help you hold the offenders accountable for their discriminatory actions – and ensure that no one else has to suffer what you’ve experienced.
Top 5 Signs of Workplace Sexual Harassment
When most people hear the term “sexual harassment,” they assume that it only applies to a specific form of harassment called “quid pro quo,” wherein the offender uses their work position as leverage for sexual or romantic favors. While this is certainly a form of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace, the truth is that most sexual harassment cases are more subtle, consisting of broad patterns of discrimination rather than specific actions.
It’s also commonly believed that only women can suffer from sexual harassment at work, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or actions, whether they come from a colleague of the same sex or an executive of the opposite sex.
Here are 5 major signs that you may be experiencing workplace sexual harassment:
- You often hear sex-based or sexual jokes in email threads or texts with coworkers. Although jokes are often played off as “harmless,” continually seeing content of a sexual nature over official workplace communications can have serious consequences on your comfort level at work. When combined with other forms of harassment, these unwelcome communications may be considered grounds for a complaint.
- You’ve witnessed sexist behavior in the workplace. Whether it’s coming from your boss or another colleague, you shouldn’t have to suffer insulting and dehumanizing treatment based on your sex. Sexist behavior can take many forms in the workplace, from cruel nicknames to sexist slurs. If you see another group consistently passed over for promotions or treated as “second-class citizens,” this can be considered sexual harassment as well.
- A coworker continues to flirt with you in an unwelcome way. Flirting at work isn’t automatically harmful – but once the recipient of the flirting expresses their discomfort or turns down the advances, any further flirting can constitute sexual harassment. This is especially true if the flirting always carries an undertone of intimidation and comes from someone in a position of authority.
- You regularly hear “too much information” about your coworkers’ personal lives. From talking about their private relationships to showing you graphic or sexual photos, your coworkers can easily cross the line from friendly chit-chat into sexual harassment. When telling your coworkers to stop does not cease the behavior, you may need to escalate the problem.
- You’ve suffered unwelcome physical advances. No one should have to engage in physical contact without their consent. In the workplace, even hugging can violate some people’s boundaries and make them feel extremely uncomfortable. No matter how “minor” these interactions may seem to others, you always have the right to refuse physical contact – and to hold the offenders accountable if it crosses a line.
Do you think that you’ve experienced sexual harassment in your workplace? Contact Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160 for a free case consultation.