Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
All individuals have a right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and hostility. Here is what you need to know.
What is considered harassment?
Sexual harassment is legally defined as "unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile working environment."
This can include a broad variety of behaviors and comments, and anyone can be a harasser, regardless of gender or position in the company. Examples of sexual harassment could include:
- Comments about appearance or sexual jokes that make a person uncompfortable
- Derogatory or inappropriate gestures
- Unwanted physical contact
- Emails or posters of a sexual nature
- Comments of jokes specific to gender, such as "this is a man's job" or "women belong in the kitchen"
- Being fired, demoted or refused a promotion because you reject a sexual advance or request for a date
- Simple teasing or offhand comments that are so frequent or severe that they create a hostile work environment for one or more individuals
Sexual harassment is against the law. Retailiating against someone who reports sexual harassment is also illegal. If you report harassment in good faith, you will not face any retaliation or adverse actions that will impact your job.
If you think you have been harassed
It is vital that you tell the person that the comment or behavior offends you or makes you uncomfortable. Firmly tell him or her to stop. Write down everything that happens, including dates, times, places and people involved. Also, report the incident(s) to your supervisor or HR immediately. The company will conduct a thorough investigation and take action to stop any harassment that is verified.
Individuals can also report sexual harassment to the Equal Employement Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Visit www.eeoc.gov or call (800) 669-4000 for more information.
TrueNorth is here for you every step of the way
TrueNorth offers businesses of every size comprehensive solutions to meet their business needs and those of their employees. If you are in need of business solutions or are looking to start a business of your own, please call TrueNorth. Our Employee Benefits division would be happy to assist you in providing the well-being of both you and your staff. Call us today at 1-800-798-4080.