Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is why it is so important to know what sexual harassment may look like, and what you should do if it happens to you. Whether you have been a victim of workplace harassment, you think you may be experiencing harassment, or you have complete confidence that you never will be harassed in your current place of business, it is always important to be prepared.
Even in the most welcoming of work environments, it is possible to experience some sort of sexual harassment, however minor or well-hidden. Sexual harassment, in the workplace and beyond, can be extremely detrimental on an emotional, physical, and professional scale. Sexual harassment at work can cause serious psychological damage, could impede job performance, might be physically uncomfortable or harmful, and may present a number of other serious issues. For these reasons and more, it absolutely crucial that everyone is able to recognize sexual harassment in the workplace.
The following may be red flags for sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Remarks or comments referring to someone’s personal appearance or private areas, especially using sexual language
- Inappropriate touching, especially in a provocative manner
- When one employee, typically someone in an authoritative position, makes sexual advances towards another worker
- Forwarding someone’s personal photos that are graphic or sexual in nature, even if they were obtained online
- Forwarding someone’s writings that are sexual or provocative and were intended to be personal (email, text messages, etc.)
This type of behavior can be humiliating, professionally damaging, and may affect the victim’s work performance. In extreme situations, a worker, usually a boss, may use raises or job promotions as bartering chips in return for sexual favors. Or, a coworker could be making inappropriate comments that make another employee feel uncomfortable. Regardless of the supposed severity of the situation, any type of sexual harassment in the workplace is deemed inappropriate and is punishable by law.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, our firm can help. Contact Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP to discuss your case with our Houston employment attorneys.