Men and women can become targets for sexual harassment in the workplace, and both men and women can be sexual harassers. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in 2018, there were over 13,055 charges for sexual harassment. Have you experienced sexual harassment in your workplace? In New York State, sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwelcome sexual advances. These sexual advances include, but are not limited to sexual favor requests, and physical and verbal harassment of a sexual nature. New York State employers have the responsibility of creating a sexual harassment-free work environment for their employees. As an employee in New York State, you are entitled to a work environment that is free from sexual harassment.
Your time at your workplace should be about productivity, not about dealing with unwanted requests for sex in the workplace. If your co-workers or boss is making inappropriate comments or sexual advances at you then the law is on your side. There are safeguards in place to prevent you from sexual harassment in the workplace. These protections protect people regardless of gender and regardless of who approaches them with an unwelcome request for sex at their workplace.
Rochester is a city with a diverse economy and many opportunities for anyone to establish a rewarding career. There are always obstacles in the way of any career, and a creative individual finds ways to overcome those obstacles. But when those obstacles are sexual harassment, that is when you may want to rely on caring professionals, like those on our team, to help you understand and exercise your rights.
Sexual Harassment In The Rochester Workplace
As society continues to become more progressive, the crimes of the past become more apparent. There has been a casual acceptance of the way the Rochester area corporate world was back in the 1960s that has made it difficult for people to sometimes see the truth. The sexual harassment that went on in the past was not only damaging to the victims, but it has also hampered corporate growth and put a general shadow over the idea of working for a living.
These days, we look back on some of those activities such as unwanted sexual advances and quid pro quo exchanges between supervisors and subordinates that were usually not consensual on the part of the subordinate and realize that those acts were assault against our human rights. There is a new and growing respect for human rights that have given victims of sexual harassment a whole new array of tools to use to protect themselves.
Understanding Sexual Harassment
State and federal laws have outlawed certain types of activities in the workplace that used to be accepted as common practice. Some of these acts include:
- Supervisors using their position to get sexual favors from subordinates
- Supervisors or employees attempting to trick co-workers into sex
- Workers being humiliated or attacked for their sexual preference or gender identity
- Persistent unwanted sexual advances in the workplace
It was not long ago that many of these acts were considered acceptable by some aggressors were rarely punished. But today, these all fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment and every company in the Rochester area is required to have policies in place that allow a victim to report an incident or incidents and get justice.
How Sexual Harassment Hurts Your Company
The world has changed and if a company does not keep up with that change, then that company might not survive. It might have been easier to sweep sexual harassment under the rug a few decades ago when attitudes, technology, and the laws were different. But these days, there are many ways that sexual harassment can hurt a company.
With the unlimited reach of the digital world, a company’s reputation is just as important as any other marketing tool that company has. When persistent stories of sexual bribery show up online, the quiet acts that used to be almost accepted soon become reasons for customers and vendors to avoid a company.
Progressive and modern workplaces are diverse and exciting places. A company where the culture is built around productivity and innovation is able to keep pace with the competition. When persistent sexual harassment is allowed to exist in a corporate culture, that company struggles to maintain its focus and to keep a level of morale that is healthy for a growing business.
In this day and age, aggressors who insist on being sexual predators are generally caught, and their careers should be terminated. The company is left to try and gain back the trust of its employees, and rebuild its reputation in the workplace. These days, sexual harassment can ruin a company faster than any other kind of scandal.
How Sexual Harassment Affects The Victims
Sexual harassment is not a victimless crime and it is not something that should be tolerated in any workplace. In general, the purpose of sexual harassment is to exert some form of control over the victim that leads to damaging outcomes. For example, an aggressor may feel that their persistent unwanted sexual advances are harmless, but the reality is that they are corroding the victim’s confidence and affecting the victim’s career and home life.
Acts of sexual harassment can trigger feelings of anxiety in victims that can lead to a variety of horrible outcomes. The victim may become less productive at work and start missing out on opportunities to advance their career. That drop in productivity could result in the losing their job and it may be difficult for the victim to regain the confidence necessary to get back into the workforce.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can also have an effect at home. The victim may find it difficult to sustain relationships they have had for years and they might start withdrawing from social life. Medical conditions including anxiety attacks, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and high blood pressure can all be the result of sexual harassment.
How The Rochester Worker Protects Themselves From Sexual Harassment
Your company has policies on how to report acts of sexual harassment, and your company is bound by law to investigate every report that is filed. Victims who take the time to collect evidence such as writing down specific events of sexual harassment and collecting witness statements from co-workers can give their sexual harassment reports more clout.
Your company cannot punish you in any way for filing a sexual harassment report. You cannot be demoted, downgraded in pay, or fired because of your report. There are several sections of the human rights laws that outline exactly what types of punishments a company receives for punishing sexual harassment reporters. The law protects sexual harassment victims, which is something victims need to use in their favor.
Reporting Sexual Harassment
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, then you need to write down your side of the account and add as much detail as possible. In sharing your story with co-workers you trust, you might find others who have had similar experiences with members of the management or executive teams. This is your chance to collect witness accounts that you can add to your sexual harassment report.
When you are ready to file your report, you should let your supervisor know that you want to utilize the company’s sexual harassment policies. By law, your supervisor must help you to file a sexual harassment report to the proper authorities in your company.
What Do I Do If I Am Fired Or Nothing Is Done?
No worker in the Rochester area deserves to have their sexual harassment claims ignored or used as a reason for dismissal. If you are told that no action will be taken on your report or you are punished for your report, consider seeking out an experienced legal team immediately to help represent you. In a like manner, if you file a report and it is ignored and the harassment continues, it may be time to contact a lawyer.
A compassionate and experienced legal team will listen to your story and give you all of your real legal options. You can discuss what course of action you want to take, and you can even discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit for your injuries and damages for the way you have been treated.
Our team is composed of experienced and compassionate attorneys who want to do what they can to protect the workers of Rochester. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment and have questions or are not satisfied with the results you received when you went through your company’s reporting process, then contact us immediately. Our team takes calls 24/7. If you need an attorney for sexual harassment immediately, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone (716) 333-3300 or fill out a form for a free consultation at your convenience.