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Have I been sexually harassed at work?

Many people that are being sexually harassed at work feel that if they take action, they will be judged as making a big deal out of nothing. They might think that their boss needs to have attempted to have sex with them in order for it to constitute sexual harassment. However, it is important for all sexual harassment victims to know that this is not the case.

Sexual harassment can be extremely damaging to a person's well-being even if it is considered by others to be something subtle such as name calling or unwanted looks.

What behavior counts as sexual harassment?

Any behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile environment in the workplace can be considered as sexual harassment. This could be attempted rape or rape, but it could also be behavior that makes another person in the workplace feel uncomfortable. This might be pressure to go on a date, asking for sex, making crude jokes, asking questions of a sexual nature or touching a person inappropriately.

Is sexual harassment the same as gender-based discrimination?

If a person is acting inappropriately in relation to his or her sexual desire, as described above, then it is considered sexual harassment. Gender-based discrimination can occur if a person actively states that he or she does not want to work with men, or if he or she believes that men are inferior to women, for example.

If you are feeling uncomfortable at work due to the sexually motivated actions of another, it is important to take action so that you are able to work in a healthy environment.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "Sexual Harassment," accessed Dec. 08, 2017

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