Sexual harassment in the working environment has been a big topic in the media over the last few years. The pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace has come to light, and more people are now aware of how it is defined and how it should be reported. However, this does not mean that the problem has gone away.
A working environment is a place in which all workers should feel safe, supported and protected. However, unfortunately, it is not always this way. Sexual harassment can appear in many forms, from sexually inappropriate jokes to requests for sexual favors in return for career advancement.
Sexual behavior, no matter how subtle, should never be a component of people's behavior in the workplace. Staring or ogling may seem to some as a trivial action that is not harming anyone. However, body language such as this can be profoundly pervasive, and can seriously impact the way that an employee feels at work.
Sexual harassment is unfortunately rife in the workplace, despite the legal regulations in place that try to prevent it. As an employee, you should be able to go to work each day without being worried about being made to feel embarrassed, ashamed or uncomfortable, particularly in regard to issues of a sexual nature.
The workplace should be a professional environment that is free from discrimination and inappropriate behavior. While every individual is responsible for their own actions, companies and their managers have the responsibility to set boundaries and expectations regarding what is acceptable. They should also have clear procedures for reporting unacceptable behavior in the workplace such as sexual harassment.
If you have had to suffer from unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, you will undoubtedly be feeling very distressed, upset and confused about how to proceed. Every experience of sexual assault is unique, but it should never be tolerated. Although you will be aware of the ways in which you were mistreated, it is likely that you will not be sure about how it will be viewed in the eyes of the law.
Even with federal and state laws in place to protect employees, instances of sexual harassment in the workplace are all too common. If you find yourself a victim, it's imperative that you take immediate action to make things right.