Sexual harassment in the workplace is not always an obvious case, even to the victim. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment includes unwelcome physical contact, sexual advances without consent, the promise of reward for sexual favors or verbal abuse of a sexual nature.
Abuse in the workplace does not have to be sexual to qualify as sexual harassment. Derogatory remarks about your gender are also harassment. If you feel like the victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment, you should ask yourself if the following scenarios regularly occur.
1. Repeated aggravation
Teasing or derogatory comments become unlawful if you repeatedly request the behavior to stop to no avail. Isolated incidents of inappropriate remarks are not considered illegal. However, the behavior becomes illegal if it occurs over time and creates a hostile environment for you.
2. Social pressure against speaking out
Coercion and intimidation often accompany sexual harassment. You might even tell yourself that you are too sensitive and need to toughen up. You need to ask yourself if you feel anxious about the prospect of going to work. Do not let your emotional wellbeing fall victim to manipulation.
3. Career damaging consequences
Besides social pressure, you might face outright threats and career consequences if you speak up. This is a sign of a systemic problem in your workforce that stems not just from one individual but management as well. Know your rights and reach out to a legal professional about strategies to move your career in a more positive direction.
The workplace should be a place of professionalism and equal coexistence. You may feel powerless in the face of sexual harassment, but outlets exist that allow you to speak out without fear.