You and your co-workers are protected from sexual harassment and assault under fair employment protection laws. In other words, inappropriate touching, comments or actions are prohibited no matter where you work or your job position. Victims of sexual harassment and assault aren’t exclusive to women, harassment is a genderless crime.
However, many people believe they’re above the law or can hide their actions. It’s not always easy to tell if you or someone you know is suffering from harassment. You may need to consider a few scenarios to better understand how people suffer from harassment:
1. Inappropriate conversations at work
An employee may have a back-and-forth work-focused conversation with their employer. This employee notices that there are several recurring messages from their employer that suggest taking their work relationship to another level – such as “You should come over to my place,” “You look like you could use a drink” or “You want to have some fun later?.” This employee ignores or shoots down these messages, however, the employer continues trying.
2. Suggesting sexual activity for a promotion
An employee remarks about wanting to move up the business ladder to their employer. As a result, the employer takes advantage of their position and makes a subtle comment about giving the employee a promotion. However, the promotion has a price: They want to have an intimate relationship. The employee later finds, after talking with their co-workers, that their employer has made this suggestion with several others.
3. Changing a dress code
Some businesses have uniforms or dress codes that everyone must follow. An employer may make changes to a dress code that makes it so that all female employees are held to dress standards that aren’t the same as male employees. There’s no reason for the business to have this change, except for the employer’s own amusement.
If you believe you’re a victim of sexual harassment or assault, you may need to consider reaching out for legal help.