Sexual Harassment In The Workplace And What You Should Do
Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Tips & Red Signals To Watch Out For
It is natural to love or feel loved in the workplace. But it becomes an issue if one of the parties feels uncomfortable with the idea. Sexual harassment comes in different forms depending on the situation and the person involved. In this post, I will show you what constitutes sexual harassment in the office and how to deal with it.
Both males and females can be the subject of sexual harassment. In fact, sexual harassment can happen between the same sexes. It can happen between a senior worker and a subordinate, between workers, or between staff and the client. This post will help reduce sexual harassment in the workplace, especially for women. In some quarters it may be morally wrong for a boss to date a subordinate in the office but it is not unlawful. However, it becomes an embarrassment if either party is not favorably disposed to the advances.
The effect of sexual harassment harms the concerned individual and the output of that person. In addition to that, the emotional effect of such experience to some people can be devastating. In effect, the resultant effect can split over to bias against men and other relationships. Most times the individual concerned will not perform optimally in her work. Meaning the person is underutilized. In all everyone suffers for it as it affects the overall performance and the result of the establishment.
One area of consideration to determine what sexual harassment is what is considered a reasonable standard. This takes into consideration of the person involved, his or her condition, religion, and race. It’s the interpretation of the receiver of an action that determined whether it is appropriate or not. The setting the boundary of mere relationship and excess of the action will prevent sexual harassment in the office.
The following are few indicators of sexual harassment in the workplace
- If you feel uncomfortable. Different strokes for different folks. Some action or inaction, to sexual advances may be offensive to others while to others it means nothing. In a group of people that share expensive jokes and nobody complained, then a case of harassment is not established. But if you find yourself in that situation and you are not comfortable with such jokes, it may mean harassment to you. Therefore, it is a person’s personal preference that determines what sexual harassment means. While to others it means nothing. So, any look, smile, a touch or a complementary from your boss that makes you uncomfortable may be sexual harassment in the process.
- Suspicious body language and conduct. Most unsolicited intentional touching, leaning over, and embrace are forms of inordinate affection. If your boss or a colleague in the workplace maintains body contact with you in an unusual matter you should check that out. A regular pat on the back, caressing the hands, hand across the shoulder, lips licking, touching of hair, rubbing the neck, a handshake that refuses to let go is part of sexual advances. If a man or a woman is fond of maintaining eye contact longer than necessary or smiling at your case differently then, inappropriate sexual behavior is in place.
- Inappropriate demand. You begin to suspect sexual advancement in the office if your boss is making unreasonable and morally inappropriate demands. One such demand is calling for meetings at an odd hour of the day. This becomes suspicious when you are singled out for such a meeting. Part of this is when such meetings are scheduled for a guest house, private homes, and offices in the late hours of the day.
- Usual offer. One clear way to know you’re becoming a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace is when your boss is offering a bogus offer, applause, and gifts. Sometimes it comes as an incredible preference over other females or members of staff. Also sending or giving you an unwarranted gift that cannot be justified is a way to show he is up to something immoral. You should suspect a foul play if a male is given you an unwarranted lavish complimentary. This could be about your beauty, dress, makeup, shape and walk. A promise of promotion and a pay rise may be his way of sending sexual intention to you.
- Disclosure of sensitive personal information. A man telling you about his wife’s sexual weakness he’s telling you you’ll be a better replacement. If he’s sharing with you how women or ladies of your age and size are good in bed, you are dealing with inappropriate behavior in the office. It’s a suspicious relationship if only your advice will be taken seriously by him. Apart from that, divulging official information to you only maybe a way to trap you into having an affair with him.
- Unofficial social engagement. It is considered morally wrong for a male boss to ask a married woman out outside the official assignment. This becomes an issue if it is a regular offer, especially if you are singled out for such engagement. If, however, the invitation is extended to other staff and your family, he may not mean any harm.
- Exchange of seductive contents. One morally wrong thing a boss can do is, sending sexual content to staff under him. All deliberate, but unsolicited images, photos, text messages, phone calls, and video are messages telling you that the person is up to something mischievous. Regularly sending an unsolicited pornographic picture to someone even if not your picture of theirs is equally an attempt at sexual harassment. If an official discussion turns to a sexual discussion often, the situation is surely getting out of hand. All the mentioned attitudes are signal of sexual harassment in the workplace
- Conditional Favor. In some cases of sexual harassment isolated offer of favor has been one of the bait employers uses to lure their victims. If you’re constantly pressurized for sex for a favor, it is a sign you’re being a subject of sexual harassment. Such an attitude including a boss who based an increase in salary, promotion and other benefits to a woman’s having sex with him.
- If you are the object of ridicule. Part of workplace sexual embarrassment includes unnecessary jesting, remarks, and some name-calling meant for one’s husband or wife. Some of them include appellations like my love, honey, sweetie, my baby, etc. If found out you are regularly being ridiculed before your peers. This most times are when you made a mistake. Instead of correcting you privately, he chooses to do it in front of others. Or he yelled often at your slightest error.
Usually, sexual harassment creates a hostile working environment, especially for the female. This makes the person harassed to be less friendly and unproductive. The question now is how to deal with sexual harassment in the office? The law frowns on any form of established sexual abuse in the office. However, you must not abuse the law by putting up a case at every move by the opposite sex. You must not also use the law for personal vendetta. But these few remedies will help to check and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Before sexual harassment takes place, some issues would have been brewing slowly.
Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Tips
The following steps will help to prevent or address sexual harassment in the workplace
- Keep a record of harassment. It is a good idea to keep a record of the communication between you and that person, especially audio, video and written text messages that validate such communication. These are necessary as evidence if there will be a need to seek redress in the law court.
- Approach the person concerned. Confront the person and tell him or her why you dislike his or her actions. However, you must do this with all seriousness. Say no and stand by that statement. Sometimes an individual does not realize the negative implication of his actions on another person until they are told. At other times the person didn’t see anything wrong in his action because others are accommodating such action.
- Confide in a close friend. Inform another person so you could find out if you are not the only one involved. This may help to discover if the person is a serial harasser. If so, you have already established evidence you could bring up when there is a need to institute a lawsuit. Your friend can also advise you rightly especially if he or she has overcome such a situation.
- Report to your human resources department. If the person does not yield, you could report the person to your human resources manager. I must point out you follow your company’s procedure for reporting issues like that. This is necessary for you not to lose the case or complicate the issue.
- Approach your workers’ union. You should report the case to your workers’ union who will be in a better situation to protect your interest if your employer failed to act on the issue.
- Seek the assistance of human right organization. Where your interest is not protected, you can approach the human right group to defend your right.
- Approach your lawyer. But when you could not find an amicable resolution to this case, you have the option to either resign your appointment or institute a lawsuit against the harasser. However, it is safer to consult with your lawyer who will appropriately advise you.
Though, this is not a legal document. But I believe it will go a long way in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and how to overcome it.