Most people think they can recognize signs of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Many imagine a scenario that leaves no question as to whether the conduct is sexual harassment. But often, sexual harassment in the workplace is not that obvious.
Is sexual harassment happening in your workplace? Don’t let myths and misinformation prevent you from taking action. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sexual harassment myths:
- Sexual harassment only happens to females: Both men and women can experience sexual harassment.
- Sexual harassment only occurs between members of the opposite sex: Sexual harassment is gender neutral. Men can harass other men, and women can harass other women.
- Jokes and compliments are not considered sexual harassment: Intent doesn’t matter when it comes to sexual harassment. If the joke, compliment or comment was offensive to the recipient, it can be considered sexual harassment.
- Sexual harassment always involves unwanted touching: Sexual harassment does not have to involve touching. An inappropriate comment, gesture or joke can be offensive behavior that is considered sexual harassment. Similarly, displaying sexually explicit photo on a computer or phone during work can be considered harassment.
- Sexual harassment only refers to long-term, on-going behavior: Sexual harassment can happen over time – or it can be a one-time occurrence.
It is important to remember the sexual harassment in the workplace is wrong. Speaking out may be difficult, but help is available and the law is on your side. You deserve to work in a harassment-free workplace.
If you have questions about what constitutes sexual harassment, it is advisable to speak to an employment law attorney.