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Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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When at work, whether dealing with your boss, your fellow employees, or customers, sexual harassment can occur in a variety of ways. Even when you least expect it, it can happen, and it is important to recognize what sexual harassment is, take the proper steps in reducing it, and moving forward from it.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms in different situations. Many times, it can occur in scenarios that involve a firing of an employee, obtaining benefits and raises, or to receiving a product or service. Often times, a sexual act will be used as a bribe.

Harassment can also just be any comment made that is out of line – whether purposely or not. For example, if an employee is wearing a skirt and a remark is made about the outfit being flattering to the shape of the woman, this is considering harassment. The comment can be made by anyone – a co-worker or even a manager.

Steps to Reducing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Reducing sexual harassment can be tricky, as often it is not something that you can premeditate in a respectable working environment. The best thing that you can do is to do carry out your daily functions or purposes as professionally and sincerely as possibly. This will command respect and no vulnerability for sexually harassing comments.

You should not stand for it. Be clear with co-workers that you do not tolerate such comments and behaviors, and you are willing to report such behavior to Human Resources. If you are just starting a job or doing businesses with an offender, this may not be the best work environment for you and you can either tell them this right off the bat and hope things get better or start seeking other options.

What Do You Do If Harassed in the Workplace?

Your immediate response should be to report the offense to your Human Resources Department (or equivalent). Collect and document every sexually harassing experience and bring it to their attention. They are obligated to investigate and report any clear violations.

This will usually stop the offenses from continuing. However, you still have options, should you feel like the matter is not being handled properly, from law enforcement or law suits.

You may be obligated to governmental help if your state, providence or country has laws against sexual harassment in the workplace. Certainly, it is important to look into these options. Upon doing so, if you are protected, you can let the offender know this, which may cause him or her to back off before going as far as to prosecute.

If the sexual harassment is serious enough, law enforcement should be considered an option, but of course there is a separation between a sexual act and a comment being made. If speaking to the offender, be stern and look them straight in the eye, telling them exactly what they did wrong and to leave you alone. Be firm, and state if they do it again, you will report them to law officials. If you are offered an ultimatum or bribed concerning a sexual act, it is best to get out of the situation as quickly as possible and seek governmental help, as this is often considered workplace discrimination.

Moving Forward After Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

If you have properly dealt with sexual harassment, it may not always turn out to be favorable to stay in your current position and dealing with the people who caused the offenses It may be tough to further yourself from your offender, who just may happen to be your boss. Sexual harassment is not the standard, and if your offender thinks it is, sadly it may be best to move on from that work environment.

Sometimes, sexual harassment can be incredibly debilitating to one’s mental health, and if your harassment was serious enough, it may be best to seek the help of a counselor. Setting up proper precautions is your best measure moving forward. Remember that sexual harassment is not your fault, is not determined by who you are or what you are wearing – it is the offender’s actions that are deplorable.

Resources on Amazon

Teen Sexual Harassment at Work

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