The Mating Grounds

Surviving Sexual Harassment: Steps to Take in Your Workplace

Understanding and

Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

When we think of our workplace, we usually envision a safe and comfortable environment where we can thrive in our careers. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, particularly when sexual harassment occurs in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is a hostile and deeply problematic issue that can discredit our employment and reduce our productivity. Its a disturbing reality that occurs all too frequently, and it’s crucial to understand the different forms of harassment that can stem from this behaviour.

Forms of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can take many forms, from inappropriate comments and conversations to unwelcome touching, nonverbal gestures, and even cyber sexual harassment. Inappropriate comments and conversations can be considered as harassment when it creates an uncomfortable or hostile work environment for employees.

Unwelcome touching is one of the most common forms of sexual harassment that employees encounter in the workplace. It can be physical contact such as patting, rubbing, or having an arm around you without your consent.

Moreover, gossiping and spreading rumors about an employee can also be a form of sexual harassment. This type of harassment can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety amongst employees and reduces productivity in the workplace.

Cyber sexual harassment can come in the form of sexually suggestive messages or images, causing embarrassment and distress to employees.

Effects of Sexual Harassment on People in the Workplace

Sexual harassment can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on the victims well-being. Victims often feel shame, stress, anxiety, and hostility towards their harasser, which can adversely impact their mental health.

The victim’s work can also be affected, causing reduced productivity and a loss of trust within the workplace. In addition, the victim might experience victim-blaming, damaged relationships with co-workers, and increased occurrences of harassment.

Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace is not acceptable, and there are ways to deal with this problem. Below are several steps an employee can take to address this issue:

Talking to the Offender

The first step in dealing with harassment is to confront the offender directly. Setting boundaries and making it clear that the behaviour is not acceptable is essential.

However, it can be uncomfortable and challenging to confront the offender. It may be useful to have a witness or someone to accompany you during the confrontation.

Gathering Evidence

If the hostility persists, collecting evidence is crucial in building your case. Collecting tangible proof such as saving and printing emails, screen capping social media interactions, saving photos, and keeping voice recordings of events that occurred can support your case.

Talking to Other Victims and Witnesses

Talking to other victims and witnesses of harassment is essential for creating a sound case. However, it’s important to remember that this is not the time to bully or gossip but to gather genuine support to progress your case further.

Talking to a Supervisor

Its essential to talk to a supervisor or manager about your situation formally. Be clear in describing the situation you’re experiencing.

It would be best to email a written complaint or an incident report.

Filing a Complaint to HR

If you feel that your supervisor or manager is not taking appropriate actions, you can file a complaint to HR. This formalized complaint should include your evidence and an endorsement from your supervisor or manager.

Contacting Senior Management

If the incident has escalated, and there is no appropriate response from middle management, you can escalate it further by contacting senior management. This can be effective in addressing workplace whitewashing or blackmail from management.

Endorsing Your Case to EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

If the issue remains unresolved or unsatisfactorily resolved, you can endorse your case to EEOC, which specializes in handling sexual harassment cases.

Filing a Lawsuit

As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit against the offending party, seeking damages compensation, reinstatement, and penalizing the offending party and company.

Conclusion

Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects many individuals in the workplace. Employees need to know and understand the different types of harassment to prevent it from happening and learn ways to address harassment.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insight into recognizing and properly dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace. Remember that you have rights and there are steps you can take to address this issue at work.

In conclusion, sexual harassment in the workplace is a prevalent issue that can have severe implications on an individual’s well-being and their work environment. Understanding the various forms this behaviour can take, from inappropriate comments, unwelcome touching, gossiping, cyber sexual harassment to nonverbal behaviour, empowers individuals to address any concerning conducts effectively.

Dealing with sexual harassment is not an easy feat but utilizing the steps of confrontation, evidence gathering, witness support, reporting to supervisors, HR, and seeking help from EEOC and legal action if necessary, can significantly contribute to resolving the issue and enhancing a safe and comfortable workplace. Recognizing and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is crucial to creating a healthy, productive, and respectful work environment for all employees.

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