Know your Rights: Sexual Harassment at Work
According to the law, sexual harassment at work or any other place is a form of unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. Any person that is a victim of sexual harassment should know its legal rights. Any unwelcome behavior that makes you uncomfortable and you want it to stop is harassment.
This can happened to anyone, people in any occupation and any age group. Unfortunately no one is save and this can cause some traumatic experiences.
Forms of sexual harassment at work
Harassment can take place in many forms, but in general we categorize those forms in 3 groups: verbal, non-verbal and physical.
- Verbal Harassment. Some might say that verbal harassment is not that serious, but it is. It can be hurtful, and it can affect the victim the same way as a physical and non verbal harassment. People usually make jokes on regular basis, and most of the times they cross the line so a victim can report it. The thing here is that sexual harassment can be conducted in a way that does not violate the law, like whistling or calling names, but it is still hurtful. The bad thing here is that the victim can have hard time proving that a certain incident happened if it does not have any written or recorded proof.
- Non-verbal harassment. This is another form of harassment that actually happens and it constitutes an inappropriate behavior from the harasser. This can be in a form of staring at someone`s body or making facial expressions in a sexual manner. Again if the victim feels uncomfortable this behavior should be reported.
- Physical harassment. Physical harassment is a behavior in which the victim is touched against its will. This can include massaging a person without asking for permission first, caressing a person` s arm or hugging them, just to name some, and the list goes on and on.
It is unacceptable that even in this age sexual harassment at work is a common occurrence. I would say, if you find yourself in a situation like this just speak up. Find a co-worker or a union representative for a moral support first. When a person has fallen a victim, most of the times they are not in their right mind. They can feel vulnerable and afraid that they might lose their job or even worse that no one would believe them. In my humble opinion, you should warn the harasser that you feel uncomfortable because of their behavior. And, in case the behavior continues take some legal action and file a complaint.
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