Sexual Harassment In the Workplace: Why It Should Never Be Tolerated
Imagine going into your place of work, a place where you should feel safe, and experiencing a situation in which all trust you have is violated. Unfortunately, countless people experience this exact scenario and are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
It is one of the most unforgivable acts, and any time someone uses their position in a company to violate others, they should be held fully accountable for their actions. Those who have been impacted should speak out against these actions.
For any workplace, sexual harassment can come in numerous forms, but these actions should never be tolerated as multiple individuals can be negatively affected. However, speaking up and reporting the incident can have a number of benefits, including inciting change.
What Can Be Considered a Form of Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace can occur in multiple ways, and unfortunately, many victims don’t even know that they’re experiencing it or that they can take action to stop it. Here are the different types of sexual harassment that typically exists in the workplace.
- Verbal: Verbal sexual abuse isn’t something that is always easily noticeable because it doesn’t even require direct communication from the offender to the victim. Verbal sexual harassment can involve lewd jokes being told in a public area which causes someone to feel uncomfortable. It can also include verbal advances at sexual contact with a co-worker, employee, or employer.
- Physical: Physical sexual harassment can include incidents of inappropriate touching and advancements of a sexual nature. For instance, physical sexual harassment can occur if an employer attempts to train or console an employee by touching him or her in an unwanted way, making the employee feel uncomfortable.
- Electronic: Electronic communication can also be considered sexual harassment in several different ways, including advances through text or email, as well as sending lewd content through email—even if the email is to multiple parties. If one person feels uncomfortable because of the content, it can be considered sexual harassment.
What many people don’t know is that even something like a cat call can be considered sexual harassment. It is something that has the power to make the person receiving the cat call feel uncomfortable, constituting it as sexual harassment.
What Can Be Done When You’re the Victim of Sexual Harassment?
Unfortunately, many victims of sexual harassment encounter plenty of obstacles when trying to determine what can be done after they’ve been involved in an uncomfortable situation. They don’t always report the situation because they either feel threatened or they don’t know what rights they have to speak up.
However, individuals should know that there are several protections in place to help them and their rights when they need to report sexual harassment. Knowing what obstacles you may face after sexual harassment is very important.
- Reporting the Incident: Many individuals don’t report the incident simply because they don’t know they can. There are numerous misconceptions that people may have, but knowing what is considered sexual harassment is important so you know when you can report it to the proper authorities.
- Worries Over Job Security: One of the biggest problems involving reporting sexual harassment is the threats that an employee may receive regarding their job security. Some employers who are guilty of sexual harassment may say that if the victim reports it, they’ll be fired. Know that there are protections in place that help avoid situations like this.
- Responding to Threats: If you’ve been threatened with violence or to have your job terminated should you report the sexual harassment, there’s additional action involved that can protect you. If an employer is reported for sexual harassment, they cannot fire you. If they do, it’s a violation and you may be able to take legal action against them for wrongful termination.
Taking Action Against Sexual Harassment Can Create Change…and a Safer Work Environment
If you have been a victim of any kind of sexual harassment, you should know that you not only have the right to report it, but you can also take legal action against the party responsible, and work to create change in your workplace.
Odds are that if you are experiencing sexual harassment in some form, there may be someone else who is experiencing the same. If nobody steps forward and reports the situation, the offender is essentially allowed to get away with their actions without having to worry about the consequences.
However, if you report the incident, you can effectively change the way the work environment operates, making it safer for you and everyone else—present and future—who will work in the same place. You create a healthy change that can improve it and remove sexual harassment from the workplace.
Reporting it gives notice to the proper authorities, which can remove the offender and set up policies to prevent future instances of sexual harassment. The policies should apply to every individual, including supervisors, managers, and owners—this includes disciplining those who violate those policies.
The moment you step forward, you’re creating a better, safer work environment—and that is something of which you can be proud.
Taking Necessary Legal Action with Our Michigan Employment Law Lawyers
Unfortunately, victims of sexual harassment often experience emotional and physical pain, as well as potential financial struggles should they leave the job to prevent being hurt any further. Because there are so many losses associated with this type of incident, victims have the right to take legal action against the person responsible for the harassment.
You may be able to pursue the following damages:
- Money to cover any medical expenses should you suffer physical pain from the sexual harassment
- Money to cover therapy should you suffer emotional pain from the sexual harassment
- Money to cover lost income if you have to quit, or if you are wrongfully terminated due to reporting sexual harassment
These matters are often difficult to navigate on your own and you should recognize what legal rights you have by consulting with a professional. This gives you an understanding of how much your case may be worth and what you can do to bring this unforgivable act into the public spotlight.
At Fieger Law, we work with you to not only help you understand your rights, but to protect them when you feel like they have been violated. Trust that we are ready to stand in your corner at every turn and hold the responsible party fully accountable for any actions that made you feel uncomfortable in a place where you should have felt safe.
Our Michigan employment law attorneys can explain what options you have and help to enforce them. You are our top priority, and we’ll do whatever we can to help you feel peace of mind during one of life’s most stressful situations.
To speak with a lawyer about your potential case and learn what options you have, we encourage you to call our firm today at (800) 294-6637. You should never be the victim of sexual harassment, but if you are, we’ll fight for you.