When asked to consider what workplace sexual harassment looks like, most people envision a male superior taking advantage of a female subordinate. While this is a common form of sexual harassment, it is far from the only way it occurs.
The victims of sexual harassment and its perpetrators continue to have many misconceptions about the problem. Dispelling these myths may help harassers conform to the law. Separating fact from myth can also empower victims to end this unwanted conduct.
It only victimizes women
In the modern world, men also experience harassment at work, usually from female coworkers or superiors. However, such harassment may also target those of the same gender in many cases.
Only the victim can report harassment
Everyone in the workplace can and should report sexual harassment, including nonvictims. For example, if you see a boss or coworker harassing a fellow employee, you can take the lead and file a complaint on behalf of the victim.
Victims can lose their jobs by reporting
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a victim or reporter of occupational sexual harassment. If you get fired anyway, you have legal options to help remedy your circumstances.
Harassment is always physical
Most victims and perpetrators believe only unwanted physical contact constitutes sexual harassment. In truth, such harassment can take many forms. Examples include:
- Making lewd remarks
- Displaying explicit images
- Telling “dirty” jokes
- Using obscene gestures
You have the right to work in an environment that does not subject you to harassment, even that of a sexual or obscene nature. If you suffer from pervasive sexual harassment at work, learn more about your legal options under Kentucky law.