Sexual harassment at work, unfortunately, still happens far too frequently. While it is often a situation that occurs between men and women, it can happen to anyone by anyone. Especially in the workplace, sexual harassment can emphasize the power struggle between superior and subordinate. It is important for you to know you can say no to sexual harassment.
If you are ever in the position at work where you feel you are being sexually harassed, know this: it is your right to say NO. No matter the situation. No matter the person. No matter what you are threatened with.
In the moment, it may seem nearly impossible to handle and to successfully overcome. Especially if the person sexually harassing you or making you uncomfortable is your superior. In the workplace, a superior could make any number of threats against an employee. For example, he or she could threaten the employee with loss of promotion, lesser pay, horrible assignment of work duties or spreading a false rumor around the office if the subordinate denies his or her sexual advances. One of the keys to successfully overcoming this situation is to not allow his or her power to scare you.
We are working hard to help change what is considered in many workplaces to be ‘normal’ office culture. It is time for employees to become powerful and stand up for themselves. It is time for enforced consequences for employees and employers who are sexual harassers.
There are no excuses. Power is not an excuse. Desire is not an excuse. A short skirt is not an excuse. No means no. It is your right to express this. Let us share a few steps for you to take if you find yourself in a sexual harassment situation.
1. Document everything. If you are offered promotions or favors or are threatened that you will lose your job. Record the date, time, harasser, place and any witnesses.
2. Keep your documented notes in a private place, such as a locked briefcase, purse or home computer. You do not want anyone to snoop around your desk and find this information.
3. Keep screenshots of every email and text the sexual harasser sends you. Even if the messages seem innocent. Everything can be used to show the person is harassing you.
4. Before you can find justice, you must report the sexual harassment. Understand your company’s sexual harassment policy and speak with your Human Resources department, if there is one.
5. Contact a lawyer. An employment discrimination lawyer is someone who understands the legal ramifications of sexual harassment.
6. If you still feel unsafe after a period of time and nothing has changed, you can make the decision to stay in the job or find a new one. Do not allow your employer to bully you out of a position, but if you do not want to work at that company anymore, leave.
None of us should feel as if we need to allow unwanted sexual advances in order to advance in our careers. It is time for powerful men and women to respect the people who work for them and ensure others do as well. Whether you are an employer or an employee, we are here to help! Do not wait to contact a member of our legal team today.