Aggressive sexual behavior without physical contact is considered sexual harassment under the law and it is illegal. In our society, there is still a stigma attached to the idea of reporting something like sexual advances because people have been conditioned to think that sexual harassment should involve more abstract behavior. But the truth is that harassment has devastating emotional and psychological effects that can sometimes last for the rest of the victim’s life.
People still do not truly understand the negative effects sexual advances have on victims, but that does not excuse anyone from being a considerate human being and respectful co-worker. Your workplace should not be a source of stress and anxiety due to unwanted sexual advances, and it is important that you understand your options if you ever become a victim.
What are Unwanted Sexual Advances?
Unwanted sexual advances can be subtle or overt and they can come in many forms. They can be sexual innuendo statements, jokes, requests for sex, sharing inappropriate sexual material, asking inappropriate and uncomfortable questions, requesting sexual pictures or videos, making sexual statements about someone without their consent, and unwanted sexually-related correspondence.
Transmitting Unwanted Sexual Advances
There are many ways people can transmit unwanted sexual advances to a co-worker including email, internal company messaging system, text, verbally, through gestures, through body language, written messages, sharing Internet content, or posting information to company message boards. The perpetrator might consider the initial advance to be humorous, but the overriding theme is to create sexual tension with the victim.
Anyone can be a victim of unwanted sexual advances and this type of sexual harassment can devastate any life. While the overriding sense is that the majority of these instances are male-to-female events, same sex and female-to-male advances also happen on a regular basis. No one is immune to this sort of sexual harassment, which means that it is in everyone’s best interests to understand how to identify and combat this.
Many people who use this form of sexual harassment get away with it by implying that they were only joking. The fact is that this sort of harassment has emotional and psychological effects on the victims. After a while, the victims no longer feel they are safe in the workplace and they are constantly looking over their shoulders for their attackers. The victims feel their self-confidence disappear, and their job performance may suffer.
These types of attacks in the workplace can carry over into the personal lives of the victims. After experiencing this kind of abuse, the victims may find it hard to trust friends and family members anymore and they can develop a strong sense of anxiety that comes with having to endure something that others just brush away as a joke.
Why You Need to Fight Back
You should not develop issues with your workplace just because others cannot control their impulses. These types of sexual harassment are not jokes. They are very serious attacks that become more and more potent the more they happen. The attacker starts to develop a sense of power over the victim and the victim can begin to feel helpless. Until the severity of this activity is highlighted, it may continue and the victim may continue to suffer.
Reaching Out for Help
When you feel that you have had enough of a co-worker’s advances, you need to speak up to your manager. Your company has policies regarding this sort of activity and you should utilize those policies to your benefit. You should make a written log of these events as they happen and ask for a copy of any paperwork your company generated in response to your complaint.
By law, you should not have to fear any form of retribution by anyone in your company for reporting sexual harassment. If the attacker continues with their advances, then follow the company’s process for filing a sexual harassment complaint. Once again, you should request copies of all of the paperwork that is generated in response to your complaint. The more documentation you have, the more evidence you have to back up your position.
When the Company Fails
Some sexual harassers are persistent no matter what action the company takes. Ideally, the situation should end when the harasser is so persistent that they lose their position. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes the company does what it can to try and sweep the whole thing under the rug. Sexual harassment cases can create a lot of negative press for a company, and some companies feel that covering the problem up is more beneficial than combating it.
Your company might have an ingrained culture that prevents this sort of behavior from being punished. Because of this company culture, your complaints are ignored and no action is taken against your attacker. Even as the advances get more invasive, the company simply refuses to help. You should remember that you have rights and those rights apply to the behavior of others in the workplace.
We Can Help
When you have tried to work with your company’s policies and you are still experiencing sexual advances, then it is time to give us a call. Your company becomes part of the problem when it refuses to help, and at some point you need to put your foot down and demand that your rights be preserved. Our professional attorneys can work to preserve your rights and take steps to make sure your side of the story is heard.
In order to try and put sexual harassment in your past and move onto your future, it needs to be addressed. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling situations just like yours. We have seen how some companies try to block progress and we have seen how victims are denied justice. We have the experience to help you regain your self-confidence and see everyone who has wronged you punished according to the law.
Sexual harassment in the workplace creates emotional and psychological damage to the victim. A way to try and stop the pain is to stop the harassment and give the victim the sense of justice they deserve. We encourage you to contact our sexual harassment lawyers today and get the professional legal team you need to finally see the results you deserve.