Workers deserve to have a workplace that’s free from harassment in all forms. Unfortunately, many employees deal with sexual harassment while they’re just trying to do their work. This poses problems because it is often overlooked, but the #MeToo movement has brought the issue to light.
Some industries are notoriously associated with sexual harassment. For example, restaurant employees often must deal with behavior that shouldn’t ever occur at work. This brings up an important point about sexual harassment – the behavior doesn’t have to be at the hands of a co-worker or supervisor. Customers, vendors and anyone else you come into contact with while you work might be the harassers.
Many people think about inappropriate touching when they discuss sexual harassment, but this is only one type of harassing behavior that can occur. Inappropriate sexually-related gestures, sexual comments, questions or jokes, lewd photos and any invasion of personal space that involves a sexual element are other forms.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is also possible. This involves someone offering something in exchange for sexual favors. This type is often associated with a supervisor seeking sexual activities from employees.
Another point to remember is that you don’t have be the target of the sexual harassment to be a victim. If you see or hear another person being sexually harassed, you might also be considered a victim.
It is imperative that anyone who faces sexual harassment at work understands their rights and the possible options they have for dealing with the situation. Employers must have policies against sexual harassment, so you should be able to learn from those how to file a complaint. You may also have other legal options to pursue.