What can you do if you are sexually harassed at work?

On behalf of Fox & Fox, S.C.

You are a hard-working woman. Each morning you go to work with a great attitude, ready for the day ahead. Unfortunately, that peace and joy you feel are destroyed once your male supervisor brushes against your buttocks with his hand. What is going on? Why is he doing that? “That is so inappropriate,” you think.

You may be experiencing sexual harassment at work, and it is against the law.

Today, more and more women are speaking up about being sexually harassed at work. It happens often, and women like you have decided that you do not have to endure that treatment anymore. They are standing up for their rights and saying enough is enough. You are more than your body, and you deserve to be treated with respect, especially at work.

Facts about workplace harassment

Women are being harassed in the workplace. You are not alone. According to a National Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault, held by a non-profit group called Stop Street Harassment, 81 percent of women say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work.

It could be verbal, like whistling, making kissing noises or cheering. It could visual, like someone flashing their genitals or showing you sexual content. It could be physical, like someone touching you inappropriately.

Laws are in place to protect you

There are state and federal laws in place to prevent you from being mistreated. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects you from sex/gender discrimination. Harassment is a form of sex discrimination.

There are steps you can take if you are being sexually harassed. They are:

  1. Inform someone about your harassment. Speak to someone in the Human Resources department. You could also speak to a superior about the harassment.
  2. Find out if your company has a sexual harassment policy. If so, it will inform you of any protection or your rights.
  3. Consider telling the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may file a complaint with them. They will investigate your claim.
  4. Document any incident of harassment. Writing it down will help you include specifics on exactly what happened and when it occurred.

If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, there are things you can do to fight. You have rights. You can take action.

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