According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment can include “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature.” While this definition may sound straightforward and to the point, there are various subtle ways sexual harassment can happen. Read on to learn what to look out for.
The Warning Signs of Sexual Harassment
Your Gut is Telling You
Your gut could indeed be telling you that something doesn’t feel right. Sexual harassment doesn’t always mean blatant touching or inappropriate language. If you are uncomfortable or getting a “creepy” feeling, pay close attention. For example, a coworker bumping into you or putting their hand on your shoulder when speaking about a work-related project could be shrugged off as an accident or unintentional. Any form of touching can be a warning sign of sexual harassment.
You are Receiving Unwanted Texts and Emails
Many jobs require employees to have access to certain personal information, such as cell phone numbers for emergency communication. However, when someone oversteps this boundary and uses your personal information to contact you about something that isn’t work-related, it could be a red flag. Receiving sexually-charged texts or emails is inappropriate, even if sent outside of work hours.
You’re Being Contacted on Social Media
Plenty of coworkers are connected on social media. Whether it’s LinkedIn for business purposes or Facebook and Instagram for sharing personal family photos, many harassers will make the connection request seemingly innocent. Still, once in, they will use it as an opportunity to contact you outside of work. Even after work hours, it’s still considered sexual harassment if you receive inappropriate private messages or comments on your social media posts.
Comments About Your Appearance
While it’s always nice to receive a compliment, there’s a fine line regarding sexual harassment. While it could come across as genuine or sincere, when someone comments on your appearance, it could indicate sexual harassment. For example, someone telling you that you look sexy or have nice legs are inappropriate comments that coworkers or supervisors should never make.
How to Handle Sexual Harassment
If you are sexually harassed, it’s critical to report the behavior to your supervisor. If your superior is your harasser, then go to your human resources (HR) department to make a complaint. Keep as much documentation and information as possible to prove the behaviors, should you need to take legal action.
If the harassment persists, despite disciplinary action from a supervisor or HR, having an experienced sexual harassment lawyer in your corner can ensure your rights are protected, and you receive justice.
Need Help Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit? We Can Help.
Employees should feel safe and be protected from any form of harassment in the workplace. Even though the “me too” movement has been making more people aware of inappropriate behaviors and what sexual harassment looks like, it is still a significant workplace problem.
At Grewal Law PLLC we are prepared to protect your rights. From discrimination to sexual harassment, we are in your corner. When you need help during a difficult time, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Call Grewal Law PLLC at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a consultation.