Dealing With Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Michigan, it was found that 90% or 9 out of ten women have suffered from Sexual Harassment in their workplace at some point in their lives. This fact indicates that despite the prevailing laws on sexual harassment, modern women are still currently confronting these kinds of treatment in their work environment.
According to the Equal Rights Advocates, sexual harassment in the workplace can be defined as the “severe or pervasive act within sexual nature that can create a hostile work environment and affect working conditions.”As such, the conduct of sexual nature should be considered as unwelcomed. Aside from that, in order to categorize it as sexual harassment, the act should be considered as severe or pervasive. Additionally, if you have been refused with the benefits of your profession mainly because you have denied someone of sexual favors, then it can be considered as sexual harassment. Lastly, when the conduct of your fellow employees tend to unreasonably intimidate and offend you to the point that it already interferes with your work functions. As someone who is aware of her rights towards gender equality and the right to receive equal respect, you have to be aware of what you should do once you recognize that you are being harassed in the workplace.
- Know that it is harassment if the conduct is not welcomed. When a person’s actions towards you makes you feel uncomfortable, then voice out your disapproval by telling him the instances that causes you with discomfort.
- Find someone that you can trust and tell her about your situation. When you keep these instances to yourself, oftentimes you might feel intimidated to communicate your concerns. Telling it to a reliable person will help you keep another observing eye within your workplace and she can also stand as your witness once you decide to raise a formal complaint. An ideal situation would be to find someone who is in a higher position in the office so that the harasser won’t feel confident that he can intimidate both of you.
- Speak to your human resource personnel and find out if you have grievance policies at work. In some offices and organizations, certain departments are created in order to address these kinds of issues.
- It is considered as harassment if it’s persistent or it happens more than a few times. One rule in defining a sexual harassment case, except for rape or attempted rape, would be when the conduct has been committed several times. However, you will need substantial evidence to back-up your claim. If your co-worker sends you with emails and text messages that contain sexual connotations, make sure that you save all of these records. If you are certain that he will say something inappropriate to you once he’s near your cubicle, prepare your mobile phone to record what he is going to say. You can keep tabs of all of these and make sure to indicate the details when the act was committed.
- File a formal complaint. When the harassment doesn’t stop at your simple request and you are sure that these acts are not going to cease anytime soon, it would be the right time to launch a formal complaint. Create a letter stating all your complaints about your co-worker’s conduct and cite the instances that these actions took place. A professional letter is a more effective way to voice out your concerns, since there’s a possibility that your oral complaint will be twisted according to how the other people interpret it.
- Take further actions. The more challenging thing though would be when you have voiced out your concerns and the senior management fails to act on it. When this occurs, it would be best to seek help from national organizations which advocate women’s rights.
- Know that your employers have the obligation to protect you from discrimination and harassment. Certain laws such as the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 2010 legislation of the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Bill state that employers coming from private and public companies and labor organizations should provide a safe working environment which is free from harassment. Additionally, the 2010 Bill also states that employers can prevent sexual harassment by clearly indicating that the conduct will not be tolerated and it can result to dismissal.
- Be familiar with laws concerning sexual harassment. Most women fear retaliation or being fired from work once they file a complaint on workplace misconduct. However, you should be aware that retaliating from a sexual harassment complaint is actually an additional ground for a lawsuit. You can also file for a claim with the help of a Human Rights Lawyer when your employer dismisses you from work or when you are requested to take a leave of absence without pay.
If you have been subjected to any of the above, please contact our office right away, and we will help you get it resolved.