Responding To Sexual Harassment At The Workplace
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Before we delve into a discussion about what exactly employees should do when they feel that they’re being sexually harassed at the workplace, it behoves us to first clarify what sexual harassment actually is.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature and makes a person reasonably feel intimidated, offended, or/and humiliated.

A few examples of sexual harassment include staring, unwelcome requests for sex, unwelcome touching, kissing, or/and hugging, insults or taunts of a sexual nature, jokes or comments of a sexual nature, sending sexually explicit pictures and emails etc.

Sexual harassment is a much more serious problem than people give it credit for. In a research conducted in 1993 by the Journal of Vocational Behavior indicated that sexual harassment could lead to post traumatic stress disorder and significantly affect the mental well being of the person.

There are significantly more instances of sexual harassment with women compared to men, and research indicates that instances of sexual harassment usually arise under unbalanced power dynamics at a workplace.

Prevention

A policy or program on behalf of the management to prevent sexual harassment is not only mandated by the law in CA, it is also the most effective way to address and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. All the employees in the company should be warned about sexual harassment and appropriate and professional conduct should be encouraged and taught by example.

Moreover, employees should know of the complaint procedure and must be encouraged to file complaints if they feel that they have been harassed. Too many employees are either too embarrassed or scared to file a formal complaint against their bosses; therefore, it should be communicated to them that the company takes such matters seriously and if they have suffered something of the sort then the company will try its best to remedy the situation.

It is also absolutely imperative that the employees are educated about their rights. This isn’t just for the employers; employees themselves should know their rights so that they protest when they’re being violated.

With that being said, it can still be extremely difficult for an employee to address the issue when they feel that they’re being sexually harassed. Quite often, employees feel embarrassed of the situation and think that reporting it would only tarnish their reputation. Other times, the organizational culture is such that the power dynamics simply seem to be insurmountable. All this can create a lot of confusion and frustration. The employee may think that they have no way out.

However, it is important to know that there is always a solution. If you or a loved one is going through such a situation an employment lawyer or a discrimination lawyer can clarify things for you and devise a solid plan to solve the issue.

Do not wait for it to be over, because that only empowers your oppressors. Contact Hardin and Associates today at (949) 337-4810 or (844) 615-1122 and get a free case evaluation.


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