Sexual harassment is prevalent in many workplaces all over the world and has a profound impact on the lives of both men and women. Sexual harassment is considered an unwelcome behavior as the affected party can feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment in the workplace ranges from derogatory verbal abuse to unwanted sexual advances and assault to rape. Any sexual harassment incident inside the premises of the workplace and any work-related events.
According to the studies conducted by the law firm Slater & Gordon, one out of six women have had colleagues who look down their dress while half of the women received unwanted sexual remarks regarding their breasts. Also, it was revealed that one out of eight women left their jobs due to sexual harassment from colleagues because it made feel uncomfortable.
Sexual Harassment Knows No Gender
Sexual harassment is not limited to women as it is considered as a gender-neutral offense. Just like women, men are also on the receiving end of sexual advances. However, statistics shows that the majority of sexual harassment claims and charges are filed by women claiming that their male colleagues sexually harassed them. The same can also be said to people of the third sex as they are also subjected to sexual harassment by their colleagues.
What Employees Need to Do
If you are an employee and find yourself being a target of sexual harassment in the workplace by your colleagues, tell the person directly that his or her actions offend you. If the harassment does not end despite your plea, ask the person to stop — and put it in writing. Report the person to your supervisor in writing if the harassment does not stop. You also need to keep a duplicate of the written communication just in case you will need it in the future.
If you belong to a union, you can also file a formal grievance so that a shop steward or any official of the union can help you out with the grievance process. Then, you will need to acquire a copy of your collective bargaining agreement to determine if it addresses that problems you are going through. Remember that if you make use of your union’s grievance procedure, you will still need to file a complaint of discrimination with a government agency before filing any sexual harassment lawsuit in federal or state court.
What Employers Can Do
Employers can also adapt several precautionary measures to reduce or eliminate sexual harassment in their company. As an employer, you can implement a clear sexual harassment policy to lessen the risk of sexual harassment in your workplace. You can include a sexual harassment policy in your employee handbook that deliberately discuss the definition of sexual harassment as well as the disciplinary action and proper protocol involved.
Sexual harassment is a serious offense and should not be tolerated. You can refer to your state’s law regarding sexual harassment in the workplace to know more about what you can do in case it happens to you. You can also get in touch with your lawyer or any legal organization for proper advice regarding the matter.