No one deserves to put up with sexual harassment at work. Unfortunately, while sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, this vice is quite rampant. If a co-worker, supervisor or employer sexually harasses you, it is important that you take appropriate steps to safeguard your rights.
Recognizing the signs of sexual harassment in the workplace is the first, and probably the most important, step in fighting this vice. Here are three telltale signs that you could be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Unwanted physical contact
If your co-worker, supervisor or employer is touching you in a manner that makes you uncomfortable, then this could be a sign of sexual harassment. These can include patting, kissing, sexual touches, hugging or pinching. Some forms of sexual contact can be quite challenging to prove. For instance, a single side hug may not amount to sexual harassment. However, if the perpetrator continues to insist on hugging you even after letting them know that you do not appreciate their action, then this could be a sign of sexual harassment.
Unwelcome sexual advances
Your supervisor or employer cannot demand that you yield to their sexual advances in exchange for some work-related benefit. This is known as quid pro quo (something in exchange for something). For instance, your supervisor or employer cannot threaten you with termination if you decline to accompany them on a date. Conversely, they cannot promise you a pay rise or a promotion in exchange for sexual relations. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, you may have a valid sexual harassment case against the perpetrator.
Sexually-theme remarks or content
Sexually explicit remarks, jokes, language, videos or images are another clear sign of sexual harassment that you should look out for. It is important to understand that sexual harassment may not be limited to your workplace’s physical location. Emails, phone calls and text messages that are sexual in nature may amount to sexual harassment as well.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is important that you put together your evidence so you can protect your rights.