How to Know You’re Experiencing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Believing you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can be sobering. No one wants to see themselves as victims. This is especially true if they think it will make them look weak or affect their professional opportunities.

However, everyone deserves to feel safe in their own workplaces. They also deserve to be free of all types of harassment from coworkers, business managers, and owners. If you’ve experienced any of the following, someone may need to be held accountable for sexual harassment:

Inappropriate Statements

It’s only natural to ask, ‘Is sexual harassment a crime?’ when you repeatedly face inappropriate statements in the workplace. It can sure feel like a crime when someone keeps making sexual jokes, statements about sexual activities, or comments about your body or appearance. They can be uncomfortable. When these comments and statements are directed at you and are constantly repeated, this might be sexual harassment. While not a crime, it can warrant an internal business investigation. It may even be a civil claim for a hostile work environment.

Unwanted Advances

You deserve to go to work and do your job without feeling like your coworkers or managers are making unwanted sexual advances. There’s nothing wrong with some workplace friendliness. Still, you may be eager to give your two weeks’ notice when facing inappropriate physical contact, gestures, texts, emails, and gestures. Depending on the circumstances, these unwanted advances can all fall under the category of sexual harassment.

Requests for Sexual Favors

Most people get ahead in their careers through dedication, hard work, and skills. This is also the way that most people want to get ahead. However, some employees can become victims of sexual harassment when their superiors suggest, request, or demand sexual favors for workplace advantages.

They might promise a promotion, raise, new career opportunity, or job security. However, the way to get the benefit is through sexual activity that benefits them. This is an obvious sign of workplace sexual harassment.

Rejection Retaliation

People in positions of power who wrongly sexually harass their employees don’t always take kindly to rejection. They may think they’re doing their employees a favor by offering them workplace advantages for sexual favors. When their advances are rejected, and they don’t get what they want, some retaliate and vow to ruin their employees’ careers.

Employees can be passed over for promotions they otherwise would have gotten. Some can even be demoted. Employees can also be given the worst tasks in the business or endlessly stressful ones that affect their mental health.

Persistent Behavior

One-off sexual jokes don’t always fall under the category of sexual harassment. However, that can change when ongoing and persistent sexual-related behavior continues. Some events can be minor on their own but make you feel threatened or uncomfortable when they happen frequently. When such behavior doesn’t stop when you ask, you can talk to your superiors about sexual harassment and may even think about filing a civil claim. Calling yourself a victim of sexual harassment can feel weird, especially if you don’t know that’s what you are. If you can relate to any of these signs or similar, you may be a victim of sexual harassment deserving of justice and a fair, safe working environment.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

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