Sexual harassment can occur in any workplace, no matter what industry, where it is located or what size it is.
Victims of sexual harassment should be aware of their legal rights and options. But myths and misconceptions about sexual harassment – and fear of speaking out – can prevent employees from getting the help they need.
Information is power when it comes to preventing and stopping workplace harassment. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about sexual harassment:
Are employers supposed to stop sexual harassment?
Companies should make every effort to ensure that sexual harassment does not occur. Holding sexual harassment awareness trainings, for example, is one step employers can take to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employers should take immediate action to stop sexual harassment if it is occurring in the workplace.
When an employer fails to take steps to stop workplace sexual harassment, the victim should consider talking to an employment law attorney.
Does sexual harassment only include physical acts?
A variety of actions and words can be considered sexual harassment – not just physical acts: For example, if one worker repeatedly makes inappropriate comments about another worker’s body; Or, if a coworker repeatedly makes requests for a date.
Other examples of non-physical sexual harassment in the workplace may include telling inappropriate jokes, displaying pornographic images or videos on a computer screen at work or inappropriately staring or leering at a coworker.
Can I lose my job for reporting sexual harassment?
No. Your employer cannot fire you, demote you or otherwise retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment. This is illegal behavior.
If you have been retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
What should I do if I am experiencing sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is never okay and should not be tolerated. Victims should feel empowered to speak out.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment, it is advisable to talk to an employment law attorney to learn about your rights and legal options. You may be eligible for compensation.