Sexual harassment is a horrible problem to have to deal with. It can make you feel frustrated and violated. It’s unfair for people to have to struggle with harassment in a workplace, and it’s something that employers should try to address immediately when problems arise.
Women are primarily the targets of sexual harassment, but it’s not always women who suffer. Men can be, and sometimes are, the victims of sexual harassment as well.
Sexual harassment includes being asked for sexual favors, physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual advances and other actions of a sexual nature that could affect an individual’s employment implicitly or explicitly. Whether you’re male or female, you shouldn’t have to worry about this taking place at work.
How do you know if you’re dealing with sexual harassment?
Simply asking out a coworker, for example, probably isn’t enough to constitute sexual harassment. However, if you’re pressured to go on that date by a superior or someone who says that you’ll be negatively affected at work if you don’t, then that would potentially be harassment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that around 16.8% of charges for sexual harassment were filed by men in 2019. That’s an increase from 2018, where only 15.9% of charges were sought by men. Looking at the resolutions of those cases, 8.8% of men received settlements and 9.4 had withdrawals with benefits. Others were also successful with their cases.
No matter who you are, sexual harassment can be difficult to deal with. The harasser’s goal isn’t to make you comfortable. Most sexual harassment takes place because the aggressor wants to have control over another person. Fear is one way to control another party.
In a workplace, this isn’t acceptable. You should never have to work in an environment where you are uncomfortable, harassed or have to deal with unwanted sexual advances.
What should you do if you believe that you’re a victim of sexual harassment?
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, then you need to make sure you collect as much evidence as you can. Whether that includes emails, text messages, security footage or other information, make sure you have copies and give them to your attorney. Your attorney can use this information to help you, so that you can begin to build a case, especially if your company’s Human Resources department does not take steps to resolve the problem and address your concerns.