While you might think it is easy to identify sexual harassment, this is not always the case. The signs of harassment at work are not immediately obvious in all cases.
That is why it is so important for workers to recognize the signs when they happen. This awareness allows you to take swift action against the party responsible for the harassing behavior. Here are a few signs to look for.
You cannot stop the unwanted behavior
Sexual harassment often involves repeated patterns of behavior. If you ask a co-worker or supervisor to stop making certain statements to you or committing certain acts numerous times, and the other party ignores your requests, it is likely that you are a victim of harassment. These behaviors frequently create a hostile, unhealthy work culture that is detrimental to the victim’s well-being.
The behavior makes you feel uncomfortable
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to recognize sexual harassment when it happens is because it encompasses so many behaviors. Unwanted sexual or romantic advances, sending texts or emails of a sexual nature, displaying sexually risqué materials or photos, frequent comments on your body or style of dress, and other sexually-charged behaviors typically point to sexual harassment. The common factor in these behaviors is that they make the victim feel uncomfortable.
You have concerns about retaliation
While an employer cannot prevent all types of harassing behaviors, they can take swift action when it occurs. If you have concerns that your employer will punish you for bringing problematic behaviors to light, it is likely they are not committed to creating a healthy working environment. Also, keep in mind that employer retaliation is against the law. You have the right to file a complaint without facing recrimination.
Victims of sexual harassment can feel very isolated. Remember that there are laws in place to protect you from unwanted behaviors and ensure your employer is accountable for their failure to act on your behalf.