What Is Sexual Harassment In The Workplace And What To Do About It?

What Is Sexual Harassment In The Workplace?

Many things are often dismissed in society due to a lack of proper definition. When important boundaries remain loosely defined, perpetrators often exploit the circumstances. One of the instances of this is sexual harassment in the workplace.

Coming to the more pertinent question, what counts as sexual harassment in the workplace? Well, harassment, in terms of Sociology, is ranked to be the same everywhere. However, we can take a look at the wording used by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“An unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which a reasonable person would anticipate would cause a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated constitutes sexual harassment.” The UK, US, and EU also accept a remarkably similar idea of harassment.

After having this generalized idea of what can count as sexual harassment in the workplace, let’s take a look at some of the unsettling actions and behavior patterns.

1. Touches that are without consent and results in agitation and discomfort for the person. Unfortunately, these are extremely common and compromises the basic fundamental rights of a person.

2. It doesn’t always take an unwelcome touch to make a co-worker uncomfortable. Lewd stares are also very demeaning. More often than not, it leads to leering and eventually to unwarranted touches.

3. Sharing sexually-triggering pictures, content, and posters without the approval of a person. It also counts as a violation.

4. It is not okay to pester a co-worker to go out on a date. If a person turns down a proposal the first time, it’s supposed to be a “No.” It doesn’t imply, “Try Again Later.” Keeping at it despite the discomfort and disapproval of the concerned individual also counts as sexual harassment in the workplace.

5. It is not okay to keep asking a co-worker for sexual favors. If they refuse to involve sexually, it’s considered one of the epitomes of sexual harassment to ask them persistently for sex.

6. If a person is courteous as a co-worker, it doesn’t mean that they are comfortable probing about their personal lives. Harassing a co-worker with personal questions about their body or life is unacceptable.

7. It is essential to set boundaries for what can come off as a harmless joke and what kind of joke passes of as passive sexual harassment. Making unnecessarily explicit, overtly sexual jokes to a co-worker’s utmost discomfort is one of the examples of the latter.

What To Do In Case Of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace?

The obvious follow-up question is how to take a stand against this and combat sexual harassment.

1. Keep Tracks And Records

It’s always wise to keep track of these instances of sexual harassment. If a colleague or co-worker, or even your boss, makes a lewd comment towards you, immediately make a note detailing the specifics. Note down how explicit and violating the comment was and how it made you feel sexually harassed.

These come in handy while bringing charges of sexual harassment against the individual. Documenting is one of the pivotal steps to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

2. Speak Up And Make Your Opinion Clear

If you find it violating, Speak Up! If you think a colleague or even your boss is invading your personal space, make it clear that you are not okay with it. In case of unwelcome touches, you can stop them immediately and say, “Please refrain from physical contact. It makes me uncomfortable. ”

In the case of lewd comments, you can choose to use phrases like, “I don’t want to indulge in conversations of this kind. You’re invading my personal space, and I feel violated. Please refrain from making comments of this sort, again.”

In case an individual keeps bugging you for a date, phrase your dissent in this manner, “I’ve already told you I don’t want to go out on a date with you. Please stop harassing me over this.”

3. Seek Legal Help From A Lawyer

If things go beyond your control, you can always choose to seek legal help from a lawyer such as San Francisco sexual harassment attorneys, Winer, Burritt and Scott, LLP.

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