5 Crucial Things to Know About Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, and the law clearly states that all employees have the right to a discrimination-free workplace. This means you do not have to be the target of sexual jokes, unwanted advances, obscene remarks, and crude comments – and if you have been experiencing these issues, you may have a claim for sexual harassment.
You don’t have to tolerate sexual harassment, and you shouldn’t fear losing your job just for speaking out.
Here are 5 important things to know about sexual harassment:
1. The legal definition of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is not always obvious. In fact, sexual harassment usually happens subtly and often occurs over a long period of time.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says, “Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
While this definition of the law does not prohibit offhand comments, teasing, or isolated incidents that are not too serious, it does say that harassment is illegal when it happens so often or is so severe that it creates a hostile environment or results in termination or demotion of the targeted employee.
Workers of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, job titles, and genders can experience sexual harassment. The harasser may be a man or a woman, of the same gender or the opposite sex, and may not even be a fellow employee – It’s possible that a customer or client may sexually harass employees.
What’s more, the harassment does not even have to be sexual in nature to be illegal. State law defines harassment as “a knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.”
2. There are different types
It is sometimes hard to know if you have a legal claim, especially if the behavior isn’t blatantly obvious.
You may have a claim if:
- Your co-worker, superior, or customer pressures you into having a sexual relationship with them
- Your boss or other superior offers to trade sex for promotions or assignments
- Your workplace has an environment that allows crude comments, crude jokes, or sexual jokes
- There are offensive pictures or offensive emails at your workplace
3. Sexual harassment is serious
Sexual harassment was once dismissed more easily or even a normal part of having a job. Today, however, it is a serious offense.
4. Some victims don’t report sexual harassment in the workplace due to fear
People who have experienced on-the-job sexual harassment are often afraid to speak up out of concern that they will lose their job. Others worry that they won’t be believed, that they are the only ones, or that their co-workers will think less of them. Many more harassed workers think that there is nothing they can do.
5. An experienced employment attorney can help determine if you have a case
Fortunately, you can do something to stop sexual harassment in your workplace, and Dugan Schlozman LLC can help. Our experienced team of employment lawyers is prepared to guide you through this difficult situation to make sure that you feel safe at your workplace. Contact Dugan Schlozman today if you need legal assistance in Kansas or Missouri.